Do Rare Books Appreciate in Value?

Dan GregoryI was recently asked by a reporter to comment on this question, and I offered some specific examples. As is often the case, my comments in the article, as well as an explanation of the examples, were very much cut for space (no hard feelings, I understand how these things go). But I thought I would provide the examples here, as well as a fuller answer to this question of how much rare books appreciate in value.

First, some examples. The exact SAME COPY of:

AuthorTitleOld Price2004 Price
Ernest HemingwayThree Stories and Ten Poems$6000 in 1977$150,000
Jack KerouacThe Town and the City$2500 in 1978$40,000
Mark TwainLife on the Mississippi$4800 in 1988$19,000
Oscar WildeLady Windemere’s Fan$1700 in 1982$32,500

But are these good examples? And what do these numbers really mean?

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