Needle Book Prices
According to HGTV's "Collectible Treasures", needle books are worth from $5.00 to $35.00 depending on condition and subject matter. Little if any mention of them is made in any collectibles pricing guide that I have seen.
As my collection expanded, "new" needle books became harder and harder to find. Then I found out about eBay (Summer, 1998). Suddenly I had access to needle books I had not even known existed, at prices that before seemed unfathomable (from places I had only heard about). Prior to eBay, the most I had ever paid for a needle book was $12.00 and I thought that was "highway robbery" since I have purchased so many for less than $5.00. The downside to eBay shopping is "you can't have them all". Competition is often fierce and prices sometimes go through the roof. When I lose an auction, I try to tell myself that I will find another one.
Most needle book prices on eBay are higher than those I have seen in antique malls. Some of the pop-up books have surpassed $100.
I still firmly hold to the belief that one can amass a needle book collection without spending a fortune. Most of the more common books can be purchased from $5.00-$10.00 in shops and on eBay. It is not unusual for the rarer books to sell around the $35.00 mark, suggested by HGTV. The rest fall somewhere in between. Click here to see sample eBay prices.
Some needle books are so common that I do not recommend paying high prices for them. Examples
include Sewing Susan, Happy Home, and Best Maid. I sometimes
see these on eBay with starting bids of $10.00 or so. If you want one of these books, look for them in
antique malls and flea markets, not on eBay. They are not hard to find and it is so much fun to look. Click here to read about "The Thrill of the Hunt".
Needle books are not only colorful, but offer a walk through history. My favorites feature ladies sewing--not a common site these days. I have several Sewing Susan Needle Books that are similar, but different--the hairdos of the ladies change over time. In fact hairdos and clothing styles offer the best estimates of age. Very few needle books are dated, though some are marked "Occupied Japan". Click here to see my views on Occupied Japan. Other countries which exported needle books include England, Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. A few were made in the U.S.A. I believe needle books such as Snood Lady are the oldest, because they are printed with fewer colors than the newer books.
Many needle books are obvious advertisements. They often feature a picture of a product or a logo. They usually say nothing about "needles" on the cover. For some reason I find these items less appealing, though there are some interesting exceptions.
As with most paper collectibles, condition is a problem. It is not uncommon to find needle books which have been torn in half or defaced in some way. After all, they were made to be used, not saved. If a needle book is in poor condition, but cheap, I usually buy it anyway (if it is one that I do not have). A poor example is better than no example. I have duplicates of many books because I found another one in better shape. My goal is to preserve a part of the history of the lives of women of America. Investment value is not an issue here, my retirement does not depend on the value of my needle book collection!
Where do you find needle books? Look for them in the glass cases at antique malls and flea markets. Sellers seldom leave them laying out since theft is a problem. Ebay is also an excellent source for rare and unusual books (for higher prices). Click here to find out what to do with a needlebook.
How many different needle books were made? Who knows! At last count I have more than four-hundred and I do not have a clue. I do know that there are many still on my "wish list". That is what makes needle book collecting so interesting for me. I would enjoy hearing from fellow collectors. I know you are out there because I lose a lot of auctions on eBay. Contact me! I would like to talk and love to trade.
Rosie's Needle Book Exhibit A -H
Rosie's Needle Book Exhibit H - P
Rosie's Needle Book Exhibit P - Z
Rosie's Special Exhibits
Inside a Needlebook
Rosie's Favorite Links