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Seven Crystal Balls (French) 1948 edition: USD160 - a fair price?

#1 · Posted: 16 Jul 2005 17:18

I am a new Tintin fan and the other day I was strolling along the street side shops and saw a bookshop selling an old Tintin book (The Seven Crystal Balls-1948 French edition) for about US$160.

Is that a good price or is that too much to pay for this book.

Sorry for this rather silly question.I am new to the world of Tintin but greatly fascinated by the books
Harrock n roll
#2 · Posted: 17 Jul 2005 02:13
Welcome bohemianguy!

Well, first you must establish that the book really is a 1948 edition. One of the major stumbling blocks in determining the dates of the French editions is that they don’t state the printing year inside, they only include the year it was first published.

You will have to look at the back cover which should show a list of the titles which were then available. The last book listed should be Le Sept Boules de Cristal with no other book following (like Le Temple Du Soleil, etc.) Check too that it isn’t the 2001 facsimile edition - the information for that will be written inside somewhere on the first or last pages.

Having got that far there is one other thing - is the title written in blue or black ink? The black titled edition is worth 350 euros in France and Belgium ($420 US) in good condition (not mint). If the title is in blue then you really will have struck gold as those are worth a whopping 800 euros, nearly 1000 dollars!

Be sure to let us know whether it ticks all the right boxes!

#3 · Posted: 17 Jul 2005 05:32
$160?! That is rather expensive for even antique books. No book should cost that much, even college textbooks (unfortunately, they do). How does that compare with other antique books in the US??
#4 · Posted: 17 Jul 2005 13:32
How does that compare with other antique books in the US??
Unfortunately books go for a lot more than $160! Even Tintin books!! The 'Making of...' series regularly fetch around $200, especially the Moon album and the Lotus/ Pharaoh album.
#5 · Posted: 18 Jul 2005 20:40 · Edited by: snafu
Even though no book should be that expensive, I'll concede that the selling price is really that high or worse. Does this mean that the book is being sold at a relative bargain, or is it a counterfeit "antique"? (paintings, for example, get faked all the time).
UK Correspondent
#6 · Posted: 18 Jul 2005 22:25
Does this mean that the book is being sold at a relative bargain, or is it a counterfeit "antique"? (paintings, for example, get faked all the time).

For the uninformed fan, the lack of printing dates in the books makes it a difficult business of identifying the age of a copy, especially on the spot in a shop. However assuming that the buyer knew what they were looking for - and all the important points seem to have been covered in this thread - I think it'd be pretty difficult to falsely age a Tintin book, unless someone happened to have in their possession some 1940s printing presses, inks, paper, colour separation plates and the like.

The most important thing to check for, as Harrock pointed out, is that it might be a facsimile printing. As far as I can see, the only reference to being a new book is on the rear of the title page, on the bottom left. If that part of the page is missing, it'd be worth making some inquiries as to the provenance of the book (which is highly important, not only for paintings). There are actually a few miniscule mistakes made in the inside of the book, where modern plates were used instead of the originals (some of the facsimiles accidently use the 'new' page numbering, whilst the original edition should have had handwritten figures).

Looking on eBay to get a rough idea of how much copies are selling on there for, there's one here that started at 1€, and another here, 90€ opening bid that gives a good range of photos, including the all-important back plate listing the titles that should appear on it and the blue lettering of the title page.

Hope that's of help !
#7 · Posted: 19 Jul 2005 00:10
$160?! That is rather expensive for even antique books. No book should cost that much

$160 is only a basement price in the antique book market; real antiquarian books get far more expensive than that! Not to mention some modern first editions… Some people would pay that for a meal, or a concert, or a ticket to a match, or a pair of jeans, so why not for a book, if that’s what they want?

Considering as well that a copy of one of the Chronologie series could set you back more than $120 new, and $160 for a first edition is a bit of a bargain. It’s all down to what people are prepared to pay.
#8 · Posted: 20 Jul 2005 04:21
Wow, people must be nuts to be willing to pay that much... Tintin is surely very special, but there are probably not that many people who could easily afford to buy that, and that keeps out the cash-strapped Tintinologists :(

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