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Their eBay value has plummeted since the series was re-printed, but her avid fans want the old editions with the original cover art, and even ex-library copies are quite saleable. Non ex-library copies, which are few and far between, are very, very desirable. There are 13 in all: four grammar school books, four high school volumes, two post-high school adventures, and three stand-alone novels. Lenski only illustrated the first four books; all the others were illustrated by Vera Neville. The three stand-alone novels - Carney's House Party, Emily of Deep Valley, and Winona's Pony Cart - are the hardest to find and command the best prices.

Rosemary Sutcliff, a British writer who died in 1992, left behind a voluminous body of work. Her books pop back into print from time to time, which affects their value, but you would be amazed at the prices that some of her titles command on Amazon. The Chief's Daughter, The Shield Ring, and The Changeling are especially valuable. Most of her books are set in pre-Roman or Medieval Britain. More more information, see this web site.

Much to the delight of her fans and the disgust of used booksellers, Sally Watson books are once again in print. They are only available in paperback so there is still a market for the hardbacks, though the prices have fallen. Sally Watson's books, all of which stand alone, are set in England. Some of the titles are Witch of the Glens, The Hornet's Nest, Lark, and Highland Rebel.

Speaking of reprints, more and more books are coming back into print. Image Cascade is responsible for a great number of them, including Sally Watson's. Their web site is worth a look-see since they used the original cover art, and this gives you some idea of what to look for (when it comes to books I am very much a visual learner):

There are also numerous authors who wrote stand-alone as opposed to series books. Carol Ryrie Brink is best known for Caddie Woodlawn, another Newbery Award winner not worth buying for resale, but some of her other books, such as Anything Can Happen on the River or Family Grandstand, are. Brink also wrote contemporary books - Family Sabbatical and The Pink Motel are two favorites - which are steady sellers.

Helen Daringer's Adopted Jane is another popular title - in fact buy any book about orphans. For some reason folks love to read books about children who are alone in the world. Will James wrote numerous books set in the American West, some for children and some for adults. His best-known children's book is Smoky the Cow Horse. I have always sold every one of his books on the first listing.

When listing historical fiction on eBay do try to include the setting and any major events in the auction title. Many folks collect books about a certain state or city or time period, such as The Civil War, the California Gold Rush, or the American West.

Unless it's bag day and you like to sell lots, skip the modern historical fiction. American Girl (now owned by Mattel) originally made collectible dolls depicting girls during various eras of American history and branched into books about them as a sideline. The thin white books are available in hardback, paperback, or boxed sets. The titles all include a girl's name; Happy Birthday, Molly!, Samantha's Surprise, and Josefina Learns a Lesson are some of the many titles. The individual books are only of interest to penny booksellers, but the boxed sets sell for between $20 and $40 if the slipcase is included. Condition does matter with these.

Scholastic is the major player in the school book fair business, which means their books are everywhere. Most current books with a Scholastic imprint are worthless for resale, just like many adult book club titles. In part, this is because they purchase publication rights from mainstream publishers and then issue the books on inferior paper with poor quality bindings.

However, Scholastic publishes several series of historical fiction in diary form - My Name is America, Dear America, My America, and Royal Diaries. What distinguishes these books is that they are not written by syndicates like so many children's series; instead, each is authored individually, often by award-winning authors - Kathryn Lasky, Karen Hesse, Jim Murphy, and Patricia McKissack to name a few. This is literature, in other words, not formulaic twaddle. They are easily spotted: Look for small hardcover books with a ribbon bookmark and no dust jacket. Though they go for pennies on Amazon, they do well grouped as lots on eBay.

So, keep an eye out for vintage cowboys, sunbonnets and high buttoned boots - you never know when you'll pan some gold!

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Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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