An antiques expert has revealed just how much your dusty old books could be worth – after she purchased one for £11 in a charity shop that was later valued up to £4,000.
Flora King, 39, from London, has always loved collecting vintage and antique books, and when she became a godparent she decided to hunt down first editions of tales to give as a special gift to her godchildren.
What started a hobby became a strong passion, and Flora has now developed an expert eye to notice the items that might rack up thousands.
She gives her tips on how to spot a bargain, from Pokemon cards to first edition books.
Flora King, 39, from London, pictured, had developed an eye for spotting antique bargains that could be worth their weight in gold after buying a book for £11 in a charity shop that turned out to be worth £4,000
‘I started trawling car boot sales, charity shops and second-hand bookshops for unique presents,’ Flora, who sells her finds on her online shop Colourful Fable, said.
‘I realised they were a wonderful present to give: beautiful things with a history behind them, and which will appreciate in value with age.’
What started as a hobby turned into a passion when she discovered the rarity of her finds.
After purchasing a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from a charity shop for £11, she looked up its value online and found it to be worth between £2,200 and £4,000.
Flora, a mother-of-two, pictured, dispenses her advice on how to check whether your old books and toys could fetch more than you think
Flora decided to take her newfound-talent and keen eye for spotting treasure and turn it into a business, selling her finds online alongside collectable toys.
She has hunted down Judith Kerr first edition books worth between £300-£400, as well as first edition James Bond novels by Ian Fleming.
At car boot sales, Flora has found Walt Disney toys from the 60s and 70s that she purchased for £15-£20 – which turned out to be worth several hundred pounds.
She also purchased a first issue Corgi Toys Batmobile on eBay, which was produced in 1966, for £90 – but experts now value the prized toy at over £1,000.
Flora added: ‘I love digging them out, like a magpie.’
Now, she is sharing her top tips on how to spot an item of value in your collection.
FIRST EDITION BOOKS
The War of the Worlds. Written by H.G. Wells. Illustrated by Edward Gorey. Published by Random House (Looking Glass Library) in 1960. Binding: Hardover. Price: £34.
The first edition of a novel – particularly a famous one – can be worth thousands of pounds.
To check if a book is a first edition, Flora recommends looking at the dates on the title page and copyright page.
She said: ‘If they match, it’s a probably first edition.
‘If there’s a one in the number line on the copyright page, it’s a definitely first edition.’
THE VALUE OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Works by famous illustrators can also fetch a decent sum. Pictured: The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Written and illustrated by Judith Kerr. Published by Picture Lions, London, in 1973. Price: £100.
Flora said: ‘If a book has been illustrated by a well-regarded illustrator, that adds value.
‘I’ve found early-edition books illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, Raymond Briggs, Charles Keeping and many more that are worth something now because these illustrators are so highly regarded.
‘I love Charles Schulz, creator of Snoopy, and also Roger Hargreaves of Mr Men fame.’
For instance, a first edition of The Tiger who came to Tea by Judith Kerr in good condition could fetch £100.
First edition of It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown. Written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz. Published by The World Publishing Company/ United Features Syndicate in 1970. Price: £42
LOOKS OUT FOR POPULAR MANUFACTURERS
To find out the value of toys, Flora says the best place to start is with the manufacturer, and she immediately checks items for a manufacturer’s stamp and the year it was made.
She said: ‘Vintage wind-up toys by Marklin are often valuable, as are Hull & Stafford enamel toys and model trains from the late 1800s.’
Toys from the 60s and 70s are popular, and Flora advises to check your toys’ manufacturers and years of making. A Donald Duck toy from the 1950s made from tin by Linemar, Japan, and marked with both the Linemar and Walt Disney label. This one is worth £90
Vintage Mickey Mouse alarm clock, with Walt Disney stamp on rear. Manufactured in Germany in late 1960s or early 1970s. Operated by wind-up mechanisms at the back and keeps excellent time. Needs daily winding though. Price: £48
Linemar tin toys from the 50s and 60s, which were made in Japan, and Corgi Toys and Dinky Toys model cars are also valuable, according to Flora. Pictured: A Mini Clubman Panda Police Car from Dinky Toys. Original model from 1970s. Price: £22
Other valuable brands to look out for are Linemar tin toys from the 50s and 60s, which were made in Japan, and Corgi Toys and Dinky Toys model cars.
More recent Furby and Cabbage Patch Doll toys could also bring in the cash – as long as they are in their original packaging.
Flora said: ‘If you’re sitting on a Charizard card from the first generation of Pokémon 1999, you’re looking at £50,000 upwards.’
A collectable first edition of a 1970s British classic. Fungus the Bogeyman Written and illustrated by Raymond Briggs Published by Hamish Hamilton, London, in 1977, priced at £35. It would be in mint condition but for an inscription by the previous owner inside
First edition of He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown!, written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz. Published by The World Publishing Co / United Features Syndicate in 1968 in excellent condition, priced at £32
The condition of the item can be particularly important when trying to surmise its value – particularly if it is an old book.
Flora said: ‘If it’s an old book that doesn’t have any inscriptions, pen marking, creasing or foxing to pages, it will be worth a lot more than if it does.’
In her collection, Flora has a first edition of He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown! from 1968 in excellent condition that could fetch £32, and Fungus The Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs from 1977 that would be mint, but for an inscription by the previous owner inside.
Finally, Flora recommends keeping an eye out for any unusual or unique details on books.
This can range from an author’s signature to a watermark, opulent bindings, interesting typography and interesting printing or illustration techniques.
COULD YOUR OLD TOYS BE WORTH SOMETHING? SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT
Vintage die-cast Miss Piggy car from The Muppet Show, made by Corgi Toys in the late 1970s. Price £26
Firest edition of The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear, published by Whitman in 1968 and illustrated by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford. Price: £25.
Sooty’s Adventures hardback book. Published by Purnell & Sons in the late 1960s. Binding: Hardcover. Price: £26.
A Merrytune xylophone in its original box, dating back to the 1960s and still in very good condition. Price £28
As far as 1960s toys go, you can’t beat than the Corgi 474 Ford Walls Ice Cream van, by Corgi Toys. This sunny little slice of history deserves to take pride of place in anyone’s retro toy collection, with its steel blue and cream body, tiny steering wheel, sliding window and candy-striped roof. Condition: well-loved, but still corners like a dream. Price: £28.
A Rainbow Zippy plush soft toy in orange from the ’70s, worth £22 (left). Right: Animal toy from the Muppet Show. Produced by Corgi Toys in 1979. Unopened and in original box. Condition: as new. Price: £28
Three vintage Superadventure / Superman annuals, sold as as a set and dated between 1959 and 1983. From Superadventure to Superman, from Superman to Supergirl, from black-and-white to full colour, from Atlas Publishing to London Editions Magazines: this collector’s set reveals where Superman came from and where he headed. In varying condition. Price: £70 for set of three
A well-kept set of wind-up Snoopy figurines that are in Flora’s collection. The better conditions the toys are in, the more you can mak. Not all are in working order but could still fetch £40 each
A Goofy toy, dressed in a red sweater and blue trouser, in good condition from the 1970s. Price: £24
Over the years, Flora has amassed an impressive collections of books and toys that are rare and coveted by collectors