top of page

Captain's Log: Antiquarian Bibles

December 24, 2023

Captain's Log: 24 December 2023

Determining When to Buy and Sell a Vintage Book.

Solving the Mystery.

Note: The originally listed price, was often not the final price at which the item sold.

Current Cold Case Status: Unsolved.

This log entry has its origins some 14 months ago, when the Captain listed eight antiquarian Bibles for sale. All of those books have sold!

Though, it was a long 14-month process to sell the below listed Bibles. The Captain decided to keep the listing as a "lessons learned" reminder and guide to himself and staff when people walk into the store with some cool, vintage books.

This essay's theme highlights the awesome mystery of antiquarian books and pricing. Used book prices listed on the internet are literally the desired asking prices. The actual figure the book sold at may not be the listed tag price found on the internet.

Antiquarian Bibles take up a lot of space and do best in a climate-controlled environment. Expensive, delicate antiquarian Bibles should be within eyesight of the browser, but out of touch. Such secured retail space is costly. Gaging and balancing the cost of display / storage space has been an interesting adventure.

Ideally, the less expensive Bibles remain within touch of the public. Sturdy vintage Bibles are a great aid in assisting sales staff in teaching people how to handle delicate books [when needed]. How a client handles a showroom floor Bible [dictionary] determines if they will be allowed to handle the more expensive items.

Properly examining and cataloging an antiquarian book takes time. Antiquarian books require each page to be examined (collated). This requires no distractions (phone calls / walk-in clients) disrupting the count. A disrupted count means starting that section over again. When clients are in the store, and staff are working alone- it is probably best to focus on cataloging modern books with ISBNs.

The Captain now understands the stereotype of the grumpy old bookseller. They were undoubtably collating a book and were interrupted while counting.

We, at Captain's Book Shoppe, strive to never be old, and of course: never be a grumpy curmudgeon! Therefore, how does one find time to collate each book? Remember the story began with the fact that it took fourteen months to sell eight antiquarian books.

As a Christian, the Captain respectfully trades in spirituality, religion of all types, and scholarly commentaries. There remains a high demand for English/Hebrew Tanakhs and English/Arabic Qur'ans that are in VERY GOOD condition. The key factor is that there is normally an English translation along with the other language. If you are thinking about selling or buying an interesting religious text, please stop by Captain's Book Shoppe or give us a call on the phone.

Many Bibles are inexpensive, as you can see below when reviewing the prices for which Captain's Book actually sold the items. Some rare books, due to provenance (who used or owned the book), or due to its scarcity and high demand can be worth significant sums of money. Book condition matters. If the book needs to be repaired or restored- that equates into the price and who buys it next.

Could the Captain have sold the Bibles at a higher price?

Could the Captain have sold the Bibles faster at a lower price?

Stay tuned for more answers to this mystery.

The Captain welcomes your insights on this topic. Feel free to give him a phone call at (319) 351-3166 or send him an email at: You can also enter your comment below.


Captain Jeff the bookseller


Captain's Antiquarian Bibles Starting at $25

October 27, 2022

Captain's Book Shoppe LLC

1570 S. 1st Ave, Suite H

Iowa City, IA 52240 USA

Phone: (319) 351-3166

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 Arrivals:

Cash and Carry In-Store-Sale Ongoing, While Supplies Last.

Cash + tax & carry, in-store, Antiquarian Bible Specials while supplies last:

1. Lower Front: SOLD 15 DEC 2023

Hardbound Leather Holy Bible Philidelphia: M. Carey, 1814 =

$75 cash + tax (in store special): SOLD DEC 15, 2023 for $50

2. Left: SOLD

AEG Hardbound Leather Bible Philidelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1847 (Front board not attached at hinge). =

$25 cash + tax (in store special)

3. Back Center: SOLD

Illustrated Bible (Boards not attached.) New York: Harper, 1846 =

$25 cash + tax (in store special)

4. Right: SOLD

Family Devotional Bible.

Boards not attached to Bible. New York: Virtue, no date =


Cataloged Bibles



SKU: CPT Bible 3c SOLD: June 10, 2023

1886 Illustrated KJV & Revised Parallel-Column Holy Bible

Bible 3c: SOLD:

1886 Holy Bible (English) Illustrated, Pictorial Family Bible King James Version (KJV) and Revised Version in Parallel-Column.

Complete Concordance. "2000 Scripture Illustrations on steel, wood, and in colors." Three Page history of the translation of the Bible. Sixteen page history of the religious denominations of the World. Syracuse, NY Bible Publishing House 1886 Approx.: 12.5"x11"x5.25" Approx. Weight 14.5 pounds GOOD CONDITION. Hardbound, antique Bible. Raised brown boards with golden illustrations. Bumped corners and edges of boards are worn (rubbed). Rubbed and sunned decorative raised band spine. Spine has seven raised brown leather bands with gold illustrations and lettering in six compartments. Head and foot shelf wear to front and back boards to include the head and foot of the boards and spine. All gilt edge text block (golden color). Two reflective, grey-silverish-colored metal-hinged-clasps. Both clasps work (snap closed onto the catch). Hinges freely rotate! Clasps have minor abrasion marks. Tight binding. Unmarked pages. No after publishing markings noted in the Bible. No Family information in the Bible. Cardboard frames in the back of the Bible for family pictures. Front and back, blue pastedown page: Heavy cardstock pastedown and endpaper do not appear to be original. Discoloration, fading to blue pastedown and single front and back endpage. Front and back inside hinges taped. (Refer to photos). All pages appear readable and remain tightly bound. Light foxing on a few pages. o Title Page showing signs it may become loose in the future. (Refer to photo 8: RED TITLE PAGE). o Page 9 of History, two spots. o Two one inch stains on page 3 of "History of Religious Denominations..."1886 Illustrated KJV & Revised Parallel-Column Holy Bible SKU: CPT Bible 3c List Price: $400.00 + tax & applicable shipping. (Cash, check, debit/credit card).

Sold Price: $300 + tax & shipping, June 10, 2023


SKU: Bible 4c SOLD

1888 Embossed Leather Altemus Edition: HOLY BIBLE

1888 Embossed Leather Altemus Oxford Edition: SOLD HOLY BIBLE Philadelphia: Henry Altemus FAIR CONDITION. Hardbound book cover: Embossed leather flower pattern on dark colored, checkered squares on padded leather board. Bumped hardbound corners. Chipped leather on corner of book. Outer hinge wear, showing light brown rubbed leather. Head and foot shelf wear to boards. 3/4" gold lettering on center of spine states: "hOLY BIBLE." 1/4" golden lettering on foot of spine states: "OXFORD EDITION." Golden colored All Edges Gilt (AEG) with reddish discoloration. Bumped gilt edging. Damp stain top of the page vicinity the hinge. Old and New Testaments Apcrypha and Psalms Complete Concordance "Upwards of twenty thousand notes, critical and explanatory, selected from great standard authors of Europe and America, by Rev Walter McGilvray, D.D." Chipped leather corner. Minor staining throughout book. Damp stain top edge of text block, light foxing, slightly soiled end page. Pages 943-950 severe damp stain at top of pages. Last page in book 3" tear at top of page. Tight Binding. Approx Dimensions: 13"x 10.75"x3.75" Approx. Weight: 13.5 pounds $150 + tax & applicable shipping. (Cash, check, debit/credit card). SOLD December 20, 2023



1. All in store book sales are "as is" upon completion of the sale. No refunds for books that are bought in store. (We may rebuy your book, once you are done using it!)

2. Internet Sales. If there is an issue with an order, please call Jeffrey at 319 351-3166 to discuss possible options. The other method of contact is by sending an email to

Standard Internet Sales & Return Policy: The Captain accepts internet returns. The customer is responsible for return postage.

Refund will be issued upon safe receipt of the item.

Captain's Book Shoppe covers return shipping costs if in the rare instance, there was an error in the listing or if the item was lost or damaged during shipment.

= = = = =

About the author: Jeffrey Alan Rothermel, bookseller and owner of Captain's Book Shoppe LLC:

Additional Captain's Logs about Book Value:

Recent Posts

Follow Us

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
bottom of page