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There’s not much more enjoyable than being a reseller and finding out that something you love collecting already is actually worth a bunch of money.
That was the situation I was in a couple of years ago when a friend mentioned that they had been unable to find a Dr. Seuss book and ended up paying more than $50 for a copy on eBay.
It turns out that there are tons of Dr. Seuss books worth money. Even after selling books on eBay and Amazon for several years, I hadn’t realized that children’s books (especially nostalgic ones) are a gold mine.
So let’s take a look at some of the most valuable Dr. Seuss books out there, where you can find them, and how you can make money on them (if you want…).
11 Dr. Seuss Books Worth Money
First off, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay.
In general, Dr. Seuss books are not super valuable, and most of the mass-printed copies are only worth $3-4 in used condition.
However, the more rare (and usually older) a book is the more someone is willing to pay for it. However, we’ll get into what makes a Dr. Seuss book valuable a bit more later.
For now, let’s take a look at some of the most valuable Dr. Seuss books that have been on the market recently. While these aren’t necessarily the books worth the most money, they’re the types of books you have the best chance of finding at a thrift store, garage sale, etc.
Understandably, the types of Dr. Seuss books that are worth thousands of dollars (or tens of thousands of dollars in some cases) are extremely rare and hard to find, even on the used book market.
1. Bartholomew and the Oobleck – 1st Edition (1949)
A standout in Seuss’s collection, this book displays the dangers of unchecked desires. Its first edition features a royal blue cover with Bartholomew holding an umbrella amidst a green downpour.
2. Ten Apples Up On Top – 1st Edition
Published under the pen name Theo. LeSieg, this counting book is distinguishable by its lively illustrations of animals balancing apples. First editions have the characters prominently on the cover.
3. Happy Birthday To You! – Rare Red Cover Edition
Celebrating individuality, this vibrant edition can be recognized by its iconic cake and candle cover. An essential for Seuss collectors due to its universal theme of personal value.
4. The Lorax – 1st Edition
As Seuss’s powerful environmental message, its first edition features the orange Lorax against a yellow background. Its urgent message and unique art make it a prized piece.
5. The 500 Hats Of Bartholomew Cubbins – 1st Edition
An early Seuss work, this book stands out with its medieval setting and the recurring hat motif. Collectors identify it by the red-hatted Bartholomew on its cover.
6. McElligot’s Pool – 1st Edition
Celebrating imagination and hope, this book is distinct with its fish illustrations. Its original dust jacket features Marco daydreaming by a pool, making it a recognizable gem.
7. On Beyond Zebra! – 1st Edition
Pushing linguistic boundaries, this imaginative take on alphabets is a testament to Seuss’s creativity. The zany letters on its cover signify its first edition.
8. Horton Hatches The Egg – 1st Edition
Showcasing loyalty, the original edition can be identified by Horton perched on a tree branch, guarding the egg. Its compelling narrative and artwork make it a collector’s delight.
9. Horton Hears A Who – 1st Edition
With its strong message of equality, this book’s first edition is marked by Horton holding a clover, emphasizing the theme “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”
10. How The Grinch Stole Christmas – 1st Edition
A holiday staple, its first edition showcases the green Grinch against a red backdrop. Its timeless appeal and festive theme make it a must-have.
11. If I Ran The Circus – 1st Edition
Depicting grand imagination, collectors recognize this edition by the circus tent and imaginative creatures on its cover. It’s a testament to Seuss’s limitless creativity.
Most Valuable Dr. Seuss Book
The most valuable Dr. Seuss book is the first edition printing of And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street which is valued as high as $12,000 in very good condition with an intact dust jacket.
What Makes A Dr. Seuss Book Valuable?
As with most collector items, it’s hard to tell exactly why something is valuable. However, some of Dr. Seuss’ books have not only held emotional value but have become incredibly rare due to their limited first printings.
But what if you already have a Dr. Seuss book and want to know how much it’s worth? Or you’re a reseller who has a bunch of books from the thrift store that you want to price?
Well, these are the general factors that I take into account when deciding how much a specific Dr. Seuss book is worth.
When it comes to collecting, first editions are the crown jewels.
They were produced in smaller quantities (especially during the earlier years) and are therefore much rarer.
Edition vs Printing
Edition: This represents all copies of a book derived from the same plates or type setting. For instance, if 2000 copies are printed on January 1st and another 500 on March 1st from those unchanged plates, all 2500 copies form a part of the same edition.
Printing: This refers to the copies made from the same plates or typesetting during a single press run. Continuing with the earlier example, the 2000 copies constitute the first printing, while the subsequent 500 copies mark the second printing.
First Edition: Encompassing all copies made from the original typesetting, a first edition can include numerous printings, as long as they emanate from that initial setting. Among collectors, the term typically points to the very first printing, and, where variations exist, the earliest version.
However, not all first editions were created equal (and it doesn’t simply go by age either. The popularity (and current demand) of the book also plays a huge role.
Most Valuable First Editions (Assuming Very Good Condition)
|And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street
|The 500 Hats Of Bartholomew Cubbins
|The King’s Stilts
|Horton Hatches The Egg
|Green Eggs And Ham
|Thidwick: The Big-Hearted Moose
|The Cat In The Hat
|Horton Hears A Who
|Bartholomew And The Oobleck
How Do I Know If I Have A First Edition Book?
Unfortunately, identifying a first-edition book is harder than you might expect. It doesn’t help that they are so rarely on the market that you won’t have much of a chance to compare.
To give you an idea of how rare they are, many of the most in-demand first editions might only come on the market once or twice per year.
I’m by no means an expert in identifying a first-edition book so, if you’re a serious collector with deep pockets, you’ll want to pick up the authoritative guide on the subject, First Edition of Dr Seuss: A Guide To Identification. Just be aware that, in an ironic twist, that book has become something of a rarity itself and typically sells for several hundred dollars in used condition.
I will say that if you think you have a first edition, it’s likely worth talking to an expert as they can be worth huge amounts of money (and most books for sale as “first editions” have been misidentified).
List Of 1st Edition Books Publication Years
|And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
|The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
|The King’s Stilts
|Horton Hatches the Egg
|Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
|Bartholomew and the Oobleck
|If I Ran the Zoo
|Scrambled Eggs Super!
|Horton Hears a Who!
|On Beyond Zebra!
|If I Ran the Circus
|The Cat in the Hat
|How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
|The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
|Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
|Happy Birthday to You!
|Green Eggs and Ham
|One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
|The Sneetches and Other Stories
|Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book
|Dr. Seuss’s ABC
|Hop on Pop
|Fox in Socks
|I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
|The Cat in the Hat Song Book
|The Foot Book
|I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!
|My Book about ME
|I Can Draw It Myself
|Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
|Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
|Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
|The Shape of Me and Other Stuff
|There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!
|Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
|The Cat’s Quizzer
|I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!
|Oh Say Can You Say?
|Hunches in Bunches
|The Butter Battle Book
|You’re Only Old Once!
|I Am Not Going to Get Up Today!
|Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Like any collectible, the condition of a Dr. Seuss book plays a vital role in determining its value.
Going from “good” to “very good” can nearly double a book value.
There are many grading guides online but, in the perfect world, you’ll want a book free of excessive wear and tear and comes with the original dust cover.
Current Publishing Status
The value of a book can also be influenced by its current publishing status.
A couple of years when there was talk of “canceling Dr. Seuss” several titles were sold out instantly in stores and the resale market boomed.
While the market is not quite as hot as it was, there are still titles that are not longer being published (and have been pulled from many schools and libraries). People can have whatever opinion they want about getting rid of such titles but one thing is true…that it creates cool circumstances for collectors and resellers like me!
What Dr. Seuss Books Have Been Discontinued?
The legacy of Dr. Seuss has been a topic of ongoing discussion. Several titles have come under scrutiny recently for containing imagery and content that many consider racially insensitive or stereotypical.
Recognizing this concern, Dr. Seuss Enterprises (the organization responsible for preserving and promoting the works of Dr. Seuss) announced in March 2021 that it would cease publication and licensing of six of his books, stating they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
The titles that were discontinued are:
- And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
- If I Ran the Zoo
- McElligot’s Pool
- On Beyond Zebra!
- Scrambled Eggs Super!
- The Cat’s Quizzer
Rarity & Desirability
The rule of supply and demand reigns supreme even in the world of book collecting.
Books that have been printed in limited numbers or those that have gained a special place in popular culture are usually more desirable.
Ultimately, the price a book fetches depends on how much a buyer is willing to pay for it, and beloved or well-known Dr. Seuss titles will typically be more in demand. Two great examples of this are The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. Even though they’re both later books they are worth significantly more than early books because they are so beloved.
How To Make Money Flipping Dr. Seuss Books
Ever sauntered into a thrift store and gotten lost amid piles of nostalgic remnants, old board games, and questionable fashion choices from decades gone by? Sure you have.
But then you remember that you’re there to make money by flipping books. At least, that’s what happens to me.
So let’s take a look at how you can approach Dr. Seuss books effectively if your goal is to make money by reselling them.
The best place to source books, in my opinion, is a thrift store. They have the largest selection and the best prices.
If you are looking for even better prices (coupled with a hectic atmosphere) you can try the Goodwill Outlet and dig through their bins of books.
Otherwise, estate sales, yard sales, and antique malls are good spots to find Dr. Seuss books worth a pretty penny.
While you’re sourcing, also keep your eyes open for the valuable Little Golden books which can be worth just as much or more!
Where To Sell Your Books – Amazon vs. eBay
In general, I tell people to sell on eBay. Amazon is for people looking for a book to read and eBay is for collectors who are willing to pay top dollar.
For most books that are valuable (but not exceptionally rare) I list them on eBay.
However, if you have books in your procession that are a true first edition (or other valuable edition) then you’ll probably want to contact an auction house or book-specific retailer such as Abe Books.
Can Dr. Seuss Books Be Sold On eBay?
All Dr. Seuss books can be sold on eBay with the exception of the 6 books that Dr. Seuss Enterprises has stopped publishing. eBay does not allow any of the “banned” books to be sold as they “violate their offensive materials policy.”
Listing Like a Pro
For any of the other books that are allowed on eBay you’ll want to use your pictures and listing to stand out from the crowd (there are tens of thousands of other listings).
Here are a few things to consider:
- Photos: Snap clear pictures from all angles, especially the spine and pages. If there are any damages, be honest. Photograph those too.
- Description: Be witty but accurate. You’re not just selling a book; you’re selling nostalgia. “Relive your childhood evenings with this gem!” might be catchier than “Used book for sale.”
- Pricing: Check the current listings. Price competitively, but remember, if you have something rare, don’t undersell!
For most books, you can just drop them in a bubble mailer and ship them via Media Mail. This will be the most cost-effective option (even though it takes longer).
For more expensive books you’ll need to take the time to package them in cardboard so there is no chance of bending or scratching before shipping them via Priority Mail.
For really expensive books I shop them in a waterproof polymailer and then a cardboard box. I will also typically add “signature required” to make sure that the person actually gets the package.
While you might make money selling these books, remember, Dr. Seuss books are valuable because they’re rare but also because they’re great books!
So be sure to enjoy yourself and read a couple of books along the way. Just maybe not any of the first editions.