Rare Civil War Books

A book being scarce or rare doesn’t always equate to making a book valuable. The civil war book collecting hobby is a small group. Tom Broadfoot of Broadfoot publishing has always stated that the hobby is made of about 500 serious collectors. Every year a few of us die and about an equal number join the hobby.

What does make a book valuable is the content. Combine that with a low print volume and you now have a desirable book that is hard to obtain which drives up prices. I am not suggesting a person join this hobby to make money. But one can over the years build a nice nest egg buying quality books with desirable subject matter.

The civil war book market typically considers a book successful if it sells 1500-2000 copies. An example would be “Collecting the Confederacy” by Shannon Pritchard. Published by my friend Ted Savas of Savas Beatie Publishing in a limited edition of 1500 copies in 2005. “Collecting the Confederacy” gained a cult like following and routinely changes hands at 3 to 4 times its original price. We all have over time see a book released and thought “I will buy that one later” only to have it sell out. Unfortunately many times the used book market will not be kind to our wallets. Good luck building your collection and as always I welcome your thoughts.


Tracking your books

One of the worst feelings I have had collecting books was getting home with my treasures after a day of shopping used book stores or antiques stores and finding I already owned a copy or two of the books I purchased. I’ve struggled with a way to keep track of my growing civil war book collection over the years. After trial and error I settled on a great web tool called LibraryThing (librarything.com). When I joined the site you could place up to 200 books for free or pay a nominal fee to store unlimited books ( I am now up to 3000 civil war books). LibraryThing is easy to use, just plug in the ISBN, Title or Author’s name and LibraryThing uses a myriad of book sites to show you available editions of that title. Click on your edition and add it to your list. Please feel free to comment on ways you keep track of your collection.