Not according to the Antiques Roadshow! Ok so let’s get this out in the open right away, I watch the Antiques Roadshow. I love seeing the crazy stuff that people have and that is apparently actually worth something!
So last night I am watching and a guy brings a simple looking book from the 1970’s. The book expert is all excited as the book is a first edition print and it is in fantastic shape (note; looks like it was never read!). The dust jacket is in perfect shape and has not a mark on it.
Then everything changes. The expert goes from frenzied excitement about the book to visible disappointment. The dust jacket is a professional quality copy. It was not the original. Cue the spot where things just get weird in my opinion.
So here is the dialogue as I remember it …
So where did you get the book? And how much did you pay for it?
I got it from a relative in the estate disbursement, so it was free for me.
Ok, that is good. The dust jacket is not original, other than that this book is in pristine condition. But the dust jacket is not original.
So is the dust jacket important?
Yes! It is what holds the value of books to collectors. This book would get around $3500 at auction with the original dust cover, without it, it is worth about $100.
At this point I am thinking … are you kidding me!?! The dust jacket, the original dust jacket is worth $3400! I am going to start collecting dust jackets! Something struck me about this interaction the next day as I thought about it. We are told all the time that you can not judge a book by its cover, apparently not! The dust cover means everything as far as cost goes. The book, with the story in it is not even worth 10% of the value!
It goes to show how crazy our value system is in our culture. The dust jacket, a totally surface thing is worth so much, yet the book, with the content in it, is not worth much. Image is everything, substance is not.
We treat people the same way much of the time, we are concerned and focused on the surface and rarely does anyone care to go deep into relationship and learn what is below whats of value! Like I said, our cultures values are all screwed up!!!