15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (2023)

When the Western Publishing Company debuted the first Little Golden Books in 1942, success was immediate. The books were affordable to make, consumed minimal paper, and were durable. What’s more, Little Golden Books were inexpensive to buy – this was a very popular feature given the frugality of the World War II years.

Today, fans of Little Golden Books include kids, young adults, the young-at-heart, and collectors. As you would expect, with growing demand, the Little Golden Books value has gone up.

Today, the cheapest Little Golden Book will have a value of $5. The most valuable Little Golden Books, however, can cost over $200.

In this detailed guide, we will focus on the price to expect for the most valuable Little Golden Books. What’s more, we will answer frequently asked questions about Little Golden Books.

Table of Contents

15 Most Expensive Little Golden Books

No.

Little Golden Book Title

Author

Year

Price (USD)

1.

Just Imagine: A Book of Fairyland Rhymes

Guy Gilchrist

1990

$199.95

2.

Tales from Walt Disney

Walt Disney

1974

$181.16 to $217.40

3.

Pain D’Epice Pat A Cake

Contes de Nourrice

1948

$179.99

4.

Tammy

Kathleen Daly

1963

$100

5.

Baby’s Day Out

John Hughes

1994

$88.57

6.

Betsy McCall

Selma Robinson

1973

$81.89

7.

The Lively Little Rabbit

Ariane

1946

$80

8.

Fun with Decals

Elsa Ruth Nast

1952

$74.95

9.

Mother Goose

Violet LaMont

1957

$66.40

10.

Linda and Her Little Sister

Esther Burns Wilkin

1954

$65

11.

Little Black Sambo

Violet LaMont

1948

$64.46

12.

Albert’s Zoo

Jane Werner

1951

$60

13.

Uncle Mistletoe

Jane Werner

1953

$60

14.

The New House in the Forest

Lucy Sprague Mitchell

1946

$58.50

15.

Charlie

Diane Fox Downs

1970

$56

1. Just Imagine: A Book of Fairyland Rhymes

Author: Guy Gilchrist
Price: 1990
Year: $199.95

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (1)

Published in 1990 by Guy Gilchrist, Just Imagine: A Book of Fairyland Rhymes is one of the most valuable Little Golden Books. Currently listed on eBay, the Little Golden Book has a price tag of $199.95 attached to it.

The book tells its stories in English and is designed for preschool children. According to the seller, the Little Golden book only features some minor wearing around the corners and edges.

2. Tales from Walt Disney

Author: Walt Disney
Price: 1974
Year: $181.16 to $217.40

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (2)

Published in 1974, Tales from Walt Disney was written for children between the ages of 4 and 8 years. Written by Walt Disney, the Little Golden Book tells its stories in English.

When we checked online for the Little Golden Books value, we found two different listings on eBay. The cheapest listing was selling the Little Golden Book at $181.16 while the more expensive listing was selling the same book at $217.40.

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3. Pain D’Epice Pat A Cake

Author: Contes de Nourrice
Price: 1948
Year: $179.99

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (3)

Published in 1948 by Contes de Nourrice, Pain D’Epice Pat A Cake tells its story in French. According to the seller, the vintage children’s book is currently in good condition with no tears or marks. Currently listed on eBay, the first edition Little Golden Book is selling at $179.99.

4. Tammy

Author: Kathleen Daly
Price: 1963
Year: $100

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (4)

Tammy dates back to 1963 and was authored by Kathleen Daly. The first edition Little Golden Book tells its stories to children in the English language and is available in hardcover format.

According to the seller, the Little Golden Book is in excellent condition and does not show any signs of damage, tears, or creases. Tammy has a Little Golden Books value of $100.

5. Baby’s Day Out

Author: John Hughes
Price: 1994
Year: $88.57

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (5)

Dating back to 1994, Baby’s Day Out was written by John Hughes. The illustrated Little Golden Book was designed to tell its stories in English to children between the ages of 2 and 8 years.

The seller notes that the book is in good condition, with only minor wear to its corners and edges. Currently listed on eBay, the Little Golden Books value is $88.57.

6. Betsy McCall

Author: Selma Robinson
Price: 1973
Year: $81.89

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (6)

Written by Selma Robinson, Betsy McCall was published in 1973. Designed for children aged 4 to 8 years, the Little Golden Book tells its stories in English and focuses on dolls.

The seller notes that the Little Golden Book has a hardcover format and its spine is still steady. With tidy and intact pages and no written notes inside, the Little Golden Books value is $81.89.

7. The Lively Little Rabbit

Author: Ariane
Price: 1946
Year: $80

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (7)

The Lively Little Rabit was written by Ariane in 1946 and published by Simon and Schuster in the same year. The Little Golden Book is marketed as rare, with the seller indicating that it does not have any tears or rips.

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Written in English, the children’s book features a hardcover binding. Currently listed on eBay, the Little Good Book is selling at $80.

8. Fun with Decals

Author: Elsa Ruth Nast
Price: 1952
Year: $74.95

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (8)

Published in 1952, this Little Golden Book was authored by Elsa Ruth Nast and illustrated by Corinne Malvern. Funny with Decals was published by Simon and Schuster and is written in English.

According to the seller, the Little Golden Book shows some corner and cover wear. Although some of its pages have some slight spotting, the book is in good condition. Currently listed on eBay, the Little Golden Books value is $74.95.

9. Mother Goose

Author: Violet LaMont
Price: 1957
Year: $66.40

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (9)

Written and illustrated by Violet LaMont, Mother Goose was published by Simon and Schuster in 1957. The English book features a hardcover binding and is written for children under the age of 8 years.

One of the few 1st editions currently available in the market, the Little Golden Book is in good condition. Currently listed on eBay, the Little Golden Books value is $66.40.

10. Linda and Her Little Sister

Author: Esther Burns Wilkin
Price: 1954
Year: $65

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (10)

Written in English and designed for kids between the ages of 2 to 8 years, Linda and Her Little Sister was published by Simon & Schuster in 1954. Written by Esther Burns Wilkin, this Little Golden Book is a first edition in the genre of bedtime stories and nursery rhymes.

The Little Golden Book does not have any tears or holes. The seller notes that it has very minimal damage to the cover and the inside pages have minimal pencil underlining. The Little Golden Books value is currently set at $65 on eBay.

11. Little Black Sambo

Author: Violet LaMont
Price: 1948
Year: $64.46

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (11)

The Little Black Sambo dates back to 1948. Written by Violet LaMont in English, the Little Golden Book is perfect for children under the age of eight.

The seller notes that the book is missing a foil spine and has small tears on the pages. However, the Little Golden Book is still in good condition and is not missing any pages. Currently, on sale on eBay, Little Black Sambo has a price tag of $64.46 attached to it.

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12. Albert’s Zoo

Author: Jane Werner
Price: 1951
Year: $60

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (12)

Written by Jane Werner, Albert’s Zoo was published in 1951. The hardcover book tells its stories to kids under the age of 8 in English.

Currently, on sale on eBay, the Little Golden Book is in excellent condition and does not feature obvious cover damage. With zero missing or damaged pages, Albert’s Zoo is selling at $60.

13. Uncle Mistletoe

Author: Jane Werner
Price: 1953
Year: $60

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (13)

Written by Jane Werner, Uncle Mistletoe is an English book with illustrations designed by Corinne Malvern. Published by Simon & Schuster, this Little Golden Book entered the market for the first time in 1953.

Currently, on sale on eBay, Uncle Mistletoe is listed as a first edition book. One of the collectibles with an affordable Little Golden Books value, Uncle Mistletoe is currently selling at $60.

14. The New House in the Forest

Author: Lucy Sprague Mitchell
Price: 1946
Year: $58.50

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (14)

One of the oldest Little Golden Books, The New House in the Forest was published in 1946 by Simon and Schuster. Written by Lucy Sprague Mitchell and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, the Little Golden Book tells stories to children in English.

The Little Golden Book is in good condition, with all pages intact and very minimal wear on its cover. Currently listed on eBay, the Little Golden Book is valued at $58.50.

15. Charlie

Author: Diane Fox Downs
Price: 1970
Year: $56

15 Most Valuable Little Golden Books: Complete Price Guide (15)

Published in 1970, Charlie tells a story written by Diane Fox Downs. Illustrated by Lilian Obligado, the book is in English and is considered rare since it is one of the few first editions that are still in good condition.

The Little Golden Book does not have missing pages and only has minor signs of wear on its cover. Currently listed on eBay, the Little Golden Book has a price tag of $56 attached to it.

How Many Little Golden Books Are There?

Today, thousands of Little Golden Books exist. However, when most people ask ‘how many Little Golden Books are there?’ their goal is to learn about the first 12 books published in 1942. Below, we have outlined the titles of the first 12 Golden Little Books that went on sale in 1942:

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  • This Little Piggy
  • The Animals of Farmer Jones
  • Baby’s Book
  • The Golden Book of Fairy Tales
  • The Poky Little Puppy
  • Nursery Songs
  • The Little Red Hen
  • Prayers for Children
  • The Alphabet A – Z
  • Bedtime Stories
  • Three Little Kittens
  • Mother Goose

How Can I Determine Little Golden Books Value?

The Little Golden Books value varies depending on several factors. Below, we will look at the factors that can raise or decrease the value of Little Golden Books:

Age

As you may have guessed, the earliest Little Golden Books are generally more valuable than more recent copies. Little Golden Books published between 1940 and 1960 are some of the most sought-after by collectors. Featuring a higher demand, these older books often have a higher value.

Condition

Little Golden Books in good condition have a higher value than similar books that are showing signs of wear and tear. The Little Golden Book Collectors’ site indicates that books are rated as 1 of 5 conditions;

  • Mint – These are in a ’straight from the store’ condition and have the highest Little Golden Books value.
  • Fine – Although these books have been read, they have a ‘like-new’ appearance.
  • Good – Good books often feature signs of wear.
  • Poor – A poor book may have torn pages and writing on the pages.
  • Junk – Junk books are often missing pages and may have significant cover damage. These have the lowest Little Golden Books value.

Rarity

The term ‘rarity’ generally refers to the current supply of a specific Little Golden Book. The fewer copies there are, the rarer the book is, and the higher its value.

Where Can I Buy Little Golden Books?

If you are a collector, some of the best places to purchase Little Golden Books include:

  • Resale shops
  • Antique malls
  • Online sellers like eBay, Etsy, Amazon, and Biblio.com

Which is the Most Popular Little Golden Book?

Written by Janette Sebring Lowrey, The Poky Little Puppy is the most popular Little Golden Book. The book’s popularity turned it into one of the best-selling children’s books in the 20th century. The Little Golden Book sold a total of 14,898,341 copies.

How Can I Determine the Edition of Little Golden Books?

The way you determine the edition of Little Golden Books changes depending on the publication years:

  • 1942 to 1946 – You will find the edition number on the 1st or 2nd
  • 1947 to 1970 – You will find the edition number on the last page, on the book’s lower right-hand corner. Each letter, A – Z corresponds with a specific edition. An ‘A’ was used for the first editions while Z was used for the 26th
  • 1971 to 1991 – You will find the edition letter on the left bottom corner of the 1st or 2nd
  • 1991 to 2001 – These Little Golden Books feature a printing date and copyright date in Roman numerals.

Conclusion

Colorful and bright and produced with varied characters and topics to appeal to any child, Little Golden Books have been putting smiles on people’s faces since 1942. Today, however, vintage Little Golden Books are more interesting to collectors than they are to children.

Although Little Golden Books were designed to be affordable, their value has increased over the years. Today, the most valuable Little Golden Books sell at prices as high as $200.

In this detailed guide, we have taken a deeper look at some of the most expensive Little Golden Books. We have also answered the questions that often bother new collectors. If you feel there is a question we have not answered, please leave it in the comment section.

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FAQs

Which Golden books are worth money? ›

15 Most Expensive Little Golden Books
No.Little Golden Book TitlePrice (USD)
1.Just Imagine: A Book of Fairyland Rhymes$199.95
2.Tales from Walt Disney$181.16 to $217.40
3.Pain D'Epice Pat A Cake$179.99
4.Tammy$100
11 more rows

What are my Little Golden Books Worth? ›

Little Golden Book Average Values

These inexpensive hardcover books were published by Simon & Schuster and originally sold for only $0.25 each. Today, Little Golden Books are highly collectible, and their value can range from $1 to $25, depending on the condition and edition.

How to tell edition of Little Golden Books? ›

Check the book's first two pages. There should be a string of letters. The letter on the far left shows the edition the book. An "A" on the far left indicates a first edition; a "B", a second edition; and so on.

What childrens books are worth the most money? ›

Most Valuable First Edition Children's Picturebooks
YearBook TitleVG
1957The Cat In The Hat$3,200
1933The Story Of Babar$3,000
1941Curious George$3,000
1938Pumpkin Moonshine$2,800
40 more rows

What is the best selling little golden book of all time? ›

The Poky Little Puppy, the eighth release in the series, is the top-selling children's book of all time in the United States. Many other Little Golden Books have become bestsellers, including Tootle, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Little Red Hen, and Doctor Dan the Bandage Man.

What were the 12 original Little Golden Books? ›

The first 12 books released were: Three Little Kittens, Bedtime Stories, The Alphabet A-Z, Mother Goose, Prayers for Children, The Little Red Hen, Nursery Songs, The Poky Little Puppy, The Golden Book of Fairy Tales, Baby's Book, The Animals of Farmer Jones and This Little Piggy.

How many Little Golden Books are there in total? ›

Little Golden Book Series (728 Titles)

How do you tell if a book is first edition or not? ›

Identifying the First Edition of a Book

The publisher may actually state the words 'first edition' or 'first printing' on the copyright page. Another common method of identification is the number line – that's a line of numbers on the copyright page. Usually, if a one is present in the line then it's a first edition.

What do I do with old Golden books? ›

What to do with old or unwanted children's books
  1. Give them to a Little Free Library. ...
  2. Donate to your school library. ...
  3. Donate to a nonprofit. ...
  4. Give to friends with younger kids. ...
  5. Hold a book swap. ...
  6. Try an online book exchange. ...
  7. Save your favorites. ...
  8. A last resort-recycle them.
7 Jul 2017

What is considered an antique book? ›

Antique book values prove that age is just a number

Many serious and experienced antiquarian book collectors are focused on tracking down works from the 16th century and earlier. As most antique collectors and aficionados are aware, items are typically considered to be “antiques” if they are aged 100 years or older.

Are Dr Seuss books worth? ›

The first edition book might sell for $50 or so, since it is not too difficult to find. Since the Dr. Seuss first edition books with dust jacket are too expensive for many children's book collectors, they might consider the first edition book without dust jacket as an alternative.

How do I find the value of old children's books? ›

To help find the value of your old books, there are many price comparison websites that can help. Bookscouter is a great option, as all the information that you need can be accessed easily. Using the search box on the website, add in the title and author of the book.

Are there any old children's books worth money? ›

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Those '1865s' are like hen's teeth and have seven-figure price tags. The next edition (4,000 copies) was released in December of 1865 but dated 1866. They are also expensive and scarce.

What old books are worth money? ›

20 Iconic Books You Probably Own That Are Now Worth A LOT Of...
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997), J.K. Rowling.
  • The Cat in the Hat (1957) Dr. ...
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • The Bible (1600 – 1630)
  • The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book (1894-1895) Rudyard Kipling:
11 Dec 2017

What was one of the original 12 Little Golden Books published? ›

The first Little Golden Books were published in September 1942 with memorable titles such as “Three Little Kittens,” “The Little Red Hen” and “The Alphabet from A to Z.” Like Duplaix, the Scripps Howard Foundation believes all children deserve the opportunity to learn to love reading.

When were Golden books 29 cents? ›

A few facts:

The first price increase for Little Golden Books occurred in 1962 when they went up to 29 cents. By 1967 more than 200 individual Little Golden Book titles had sold 1 million copies each.

When was the first Little Golden Book? ›

October 1, 1942: Little Golden Books launch at 25 cents each, democratizing reading for young Americans. At this time, children's books sell for $2 to $3 and are a luxury for many families. February 1943: Many Little Golden Books are in their 3rd printing, and 1.5 million copies total are in print.

Is Golden books still in business? ›

Western Publishing became Golden Books Family Entertainment in 1996. As of 2013, Little Golden Books remains as an imprint of Penguin Random House.
...
Western Publishing.
TypePrivate
FateFolded into Golden Books Family Entertainment
12 more rows

Who are the characters on the back of Little Golden Books? ›

Book details

The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Tawny Scrawny Lion, and Scuffy the Tugboat. This classic collection in its own slipcase is perfect for gift-giving—and is great value, too!

Who made the Little Golden Books? ›

Little Golden Books

How do I sell a rare book? ›

AbeBooks.com is one of the best places to sell rare books online. They have been in the bookselling market for more than ten years and gained much popularity. They have certain similarities with Amazon, and they give you the option to sell your books to book collectors and booksellers.

What makes a book collectible? ›

So what makes a book rare – and valuable? Unsurprisingly, the scarcity and uniqueness of the book is key. First editions and original bindings, signatures or inscriptions by the author or a famous owner are factors that can make a book more valuable.

What is the difference between a first edition and a first printing? ›

A first edition is the first printing of a book. It's true that a first edition may have one or more printings and that a second edition will normally be noted only if there are actual changes, usually major, in the text. But for a collector, a first printing is the only true first edition.

What is Dale Carnegie Golden book? ›

Back in 1936, Dale Carnegie put together a small booklet called “The Golden Book.” In it, he listed a number of rules or principles from two of his successful books “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” I recently was reminded of his “Golden Book” and had a chance to ...

How do you tell how old a book is? ›

Publishers usually list the printing date on the inside cover. Look at the title page to see if you can find a date. On some books, usually newer ones, you can find a printing date right underneath the title.

How much is worth a first edition? ›

Dealers usually pay about 10-30% of the retail price of the book. So, if a dealer plans on pricing your book at $40, he may offer you anywhere between $4 and $12. A few (especially large, chain used bookstores) may pay less.

What does the number line in a book mean? ›

The printer's key, also known as the number line, is a line of text printed on the copyright page (often the verso of the title page, especially in English-language publishing) of books, used to indicate the print run.

How much are Disney Golden books Worth? ›

Mint condition, non-Disney boxed sets often sell for $50 - $150, and single books sell for $3 - $5. Early mint Disney sets can sell for up to $100 - $200, with later sets selling a little less.

What do the numbers mean on Little Golden Books? ›

Generally, Little Golden Books have the initial publishing date printed on the copyright page, so if the edition you have was published in 1942 but reprinted in 1992, it would still say 1942.

How many Little Golden Books are there in total? ›

Little Golden Book Series (728 Titles)

Are Dr Seuss books worth? ›

The first edition book might sell for $50 or so, since it is not too difficult to find. Since the Dr. Seuss first edition books with dust jacket are too expensive for many children's book collectors, they might consider the first edition book without dust jacket as an alternative.

How do I find the value of an old book? ›

To help find the value of your old books, there are many price comparison websites that can help. Bookscouter is a great option, as all the information that you need can be accessed easily. Using the search box on the website, add in the title and author of the book.

What do I do with old Golden books? ›

What to do with old or unwanted children's books
  1. Give them to a Little Free Library. ...
  2. Donate to your school library. ...
  3. Donate to a nonprofit. ...
  4. Give to friends with younger kids. ...
  5. Hold a book swap. ...
  6. Try an online book exchange. ...
  7. Save your favorites. ...
  8. A last resort-recycle them.
7 Jul 2017

What is considered an antique book? ›

Antique book values prove that age is just a number

Many serious and experienced antiquarian book collectors are focused on tracking down works from the 16th century and earlier. As most antique collectors and aficionados are aware, items are typically considered to be “antiques” if they are aged 100 years or older.

What year was the first little golden book published? ›

October 1, 1942: Little Golden Books launch at 25 cents each, democratizing reading for young Americans. At this time, children's books sell for $2 to $3 and are a luxury for many families. February 1943: Many Little Golden Books are in their 3rd printing, and 1.5 million copies total are in print.

When did Little Golden Books start? ›

Launched in October 1942, Little Golden Books defied the traditional model of children's book publishing with its 25¢ price point, availability in chain and department stores, vivid cover and interior art, uniform trim size, and eye-catching gold spine.

Is Golden books still in business? ›

Western Publishing became Golden Books Family Entertainment in 1996. As of 2013, Little Golden Books remains as an imprint of Penguin Random House.
...
Western Publishing.
TypePrivate
FateFolded into Golden Books Family Entertainment
12 more rows

What is Dale Carnegie Golden book? ›

Back in 1936, Dale Carnegie put together a small booklet called “The Golden Book.” In it, he listed a number of rules or principles from two of his successful books “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” I recently was reminded of his “Golden Book” and had a chance to ...

Who are the characters on the back of Little Golden Books? ›

Book details

The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Tawny Scrawny Lion, and Scuffy the Tugboat. This classic collection in its own slipcase is perfect for gift-giving—and is great value, too!

What are original Dr. Seuss books worth? ›

A first-edition copy sold for $500 and others went for as much as $400. All of the books that have ceased publication soared in price Tuesday, but you can still find “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and other Dr. Seuss books at their traditional prices. Some say Dr.

How do I know if my green eggs and ham are first edition? ›

Note that on the first edition of Green Eggs and Ham, the front dust jacket cover must have the blurb '50 Word Vocabulary' as a sticker. The sticker is essential to identification as a first edition. Second and later printings have '50 Word Vocabulary' printed on the front dust jacket cover.

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