Because children's books undergo significant wear, most well-loved children's books have little value. To be valuable, a children's book generally must be a first edition, in excellent condition with an undamaged book jacket, and/or a well-known title or a book from a well-known author or illustrator. Such books can fetch hundreds to thousands of dollars, and scarcity, as well as the age of a book are also major factors in its value.
For example, as of 2014, a first-edition printing of Maurice Sendak's classic "Where the Wild Things Are," published in 1963, comes in at over $8,000 in very good condition, while the 1960 Dr. Seuss title "Green Eggs and Ham" lists for about $3,800, according to Children's Picture Book Collecting. "The Polar Express," a more recent classic from 1983, can sell for up to $1,400. The average value for a collectible book is much less, with books from the 2000s selling for an average of $17 and books from the 1960s selling for an average of $90. Whatever the age, books associated with movies, cartoons or product franchises, such as Madeline or Curious George, typically have good values. The best way to find out the value of particular children's books is to research the values online or in person through a reputable book reseller.