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2016@Mormonism.com

(816) 846-0123
“Since 1972, Hajicek has been studying Mormon origins.
Since 1981, he has been writing about rare Mormon documents.
Since 1991, half of all new discoveries in Mormon history have been by him.”

Getting the Right Price

Reasons why price guides are unreliable

I will pay a higher price than listed in any price guide, even though price guides notoriously overstate values. I have never seen a price guide that accurately listed prices for Mormon books, or one that was written by a qualified or ethical person.  They are even less accurate on high-end items (those valued at $5,000 and up).  In fact, there is almost no correlation between the current market value and what any price guide says.  A recent academic study showed that some books had increased to 100 times their value in recent years, and other books had fallen in value.  This means that even if it were possible to produce an accurate price guide, it would be immediately outdated.

Further, those guides will tell you almost nothing about the subjective factors that create the true value of a book.  Two different copies of the same rare edition will vary in value subjectively based on factors such as condition and completeness, state or variation, binding or wrappers, and provenance and associations or autographs.

The prices in guides are merely copied from offerings by others who may not have known the market value of the books, often people who were not even Mormon.  Many of the books listed in the guides never sold at all, and those that did sell were often discounted below the asking price. However, if regardless of all that you would like to use some price history, I will show you the guides and past auction records.  I will still pay the highest price listed for any book—and much more for early Books of Mormon, because I want to remain the competitive leader as a collector.

Still, market prices are dynamic, arbitrary, and subjective.  There is no secret, magical, or biblical price of a rare book; there is no value that is known, static, or precise.  There is also no exactness to determining any “fair market value” of something that changes hands infrequently.  The supply curve shifts each time another unknown copy of a scarce book surfaces.  The demand curve shifts depending on the economy and varying tastes and information.  The only way to ascertain an accurate value is to consult with a serious collector like me—one who spends every day thinking about the highly specialized study of rare Mormon books.  The chances are, my interest in the book will exceed any past interest reflected in price records.

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