How many copies are there of Opal Whiteley’s book “The Fairyland around Us?”

I often read that there are only ten known copies of Opal Whiteley’s self-published book, The Fairyland Around Us.  Sometimes it’s 12 known copies, other times it’s 15 copies.  Actually, the number of known copies is in the 25 to 50 range.  I don’t know what the official definition is of a “known copy” but to me that means a copy that has been identified as to either the current location or a named owner, past or present.  It’s a copy about which enough is known that it can be traced if it changes hands.  Known copies are either owned by institutions, such as libraries, or are privately held in personal collections.  In addition to such known copies, there can be rumored copies.  These would be copies that someone once saw, but the current location and owner is unknown, and not enough is known about the copy to trace it if it changes hands.  Lastly, I assume there are unknown copies that are in hiding, so to speak, in basements, attics, garages, or uncatalogued institutional holdings.  These are copies that have survived the ravages of time and are waiting to be found by someone who will recognize them for what they are: treasures and works of art.  I’ve been tracking copies of Opal’s Fairyland since about 1999.  Some day, I want to publish a “population report” — a list of all copies that I’m aware of that have survived.  I haven’t had the time to do that yet, but for now I’m putting the word out that the numbers being bandied about for “known copies” are way too low.  My guess is that about 100 copies have survived worldwide, including known and unknown copies.  That’s out of a total printing of around 200 copies, although that number is also debatable.  The edition size may have been larger.  I doubt that it was smaller.  The more copies that were printed, the more copies you could expect to have survived that are now waiting to be discovered.  The book had at least two different bindings: a deluxe leather binding and a more modest regular cloth binding.  For some reason, the leather binding is much more common than the cloth binding.  Of the at least 25 known copies, about half are in library collections, and the other half are privately held.  Once I make a list, I’ll firm up these numbers.

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About David Barker

David Barker is the author of two works of weird horror fiction written in collaboration with W. H. Pugmire: The Revenant of Rebecca Pascal and In the Gulfs of Dream & Other Lovecraftian Tales (both books were published by the now defunct Dark Renaissance Books, but copies are still available from Dark Regions Press.) Barker and Pugmire also collaborated on a Lovecraftian horror novel, Witches In Dreamland, which will be published by Hippocampus Press, possibly in late 2017. Recently, his stories and poems have appeared in Fungi, Cyaegha, Spectral Realms, The Art Mephitic, The Audient Void, The Indiscriminate Mixture and on Shoggoth.net. He has a short story in the weird fiction anthology, Nightmare's Realm, edited by S. T. Joshi and published in 2017 by Dark Regions Press. He also has published several works of horror and bizarro fiction as Kindle ebooks, including the bizarro zombie novel Dead Guys in Packards. Together with Jordan Hofer, David Barker has written two nonfiction books about UFOs and alien abduction: Little Gray Bastards (published in 2016 by Schiffer Publishing) and Unidentifiable Flying Objects (due in Fall 2017 from Schiffer.)
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9 Responses to How many copies are there of Opal Whiteley’s book “The Fairyland around Us?”

  1. jeanne Moore, PhD, LMFT,MA exhostage says:

    How much would you pay to me? l. I have a soft leather The Fairyland Around Us. with color bird pictures and drawings. 661 831 3185 bestestnow@aol.com 2. Anyone can Bake 1929 created by the royal Baking Powder Co 3. the rumford complete cook book printed 1930 copyright 1908 4. a first person writing by Mrs. Long (who also wrote short stories and greeting cards) typed on an OLD typewriter during her car trip with three daughter and her husband on the road to hoped for fame in Hollywood. a female seeking fame during the early nineteen hundreds!! a complete works of William Shakespeare book club edition. (and a collection of ‘stories’ destined to become more famous that twilight zone and ER with unique story lines form The Republic, and actors would pay to be included in an episode and people would set alarms to be sure and be in front of telly for the program and not just video record it.
    I have another fairyland copy and Claudia books, plus old textbooks from prior to DNA. And I have created children’s story books with sign language one each page and reasoning for using sign…

  2. David Barker says:

    Hi Jeanne: I don’t have the spare cash to pay you what your copies of The Fairyland Around Us are worth, if they are in acceptable condition. Your best bet would be to list them on eBay with a full description, including condition, and plenty of photos. In good, undamaged condition, they could sell for $1000 to $1200. If they are damaged, it would be considerably less. The manuscript by a woman seeking fame in Hollywood sounds interesting, and might do well on eBay. The other books don’t sound very unusual to me (although they may have some value). You might try taking those to a used book store to see what they will offer you.

  3. Kathryn Schlafier says:

    Hi David…I just read your article and wanted to let you know that I have a copy of The Fairyland Around Us. I have been very curious as to it’s value. It seems to have a “suede like” cover. Do you still think that e-bay is the best way to go to sell my copy? Thanks, Kathy

  4. David Barker says:

    Hi Kathy. If the book is in good condition, it’s worth $1,000 to $1,200. Copies used to go for as much as $1,500, but enough have come on the market in recent years to drive the price down a bit. If it’s in bad condition, but the text is complete, the value is $300 to $900. It’s common for the back of the binding (the spine) to be torn or to have pieces missing on the suede leather copies, as the leather hasn’t aged well and is weak. Ebay is the best way to sell it, and be sure to include photos of the cover, any inscription or signature, and the color plates where Opal hand wrote poems. Good luck selling your copy. Is it inscribed to anyone? I’d be curious to know who, if it is.

  5. Scott montanye says:

    I have the original copy signed by opal whiteley( fairyland around us. Can somone tell me what’s it worth
    Thanks
    Scott

  6. Scott montanye says:

    Thank you so much for your help with how much my book is worth and the best way to sell it. It isn’t inscribed to anyone…just a signature. Thanks again! Kathy

  7. David Barker says:

    Scott, in good condition, it’s worth $1,000 to $1,200. In bad condition, but the text is complete, the value is $300 to $900.

  8. Kathryn Schlaifer says:

    I have inherited one of the self published volumes of this book. The cover is in rough shape but the inside copy is fine. What would be your advice at the best way to get top value from this book? Thank you. Kathryn Schlaifer
    kathrynschlaifer@gmail.com

  9. David Barker says:

    Hi Kathryn. You’ll get the best price for it by listing it on eBay with a full description and lots of good photos of the book inside and out, including any flaws. The binding of this book (usually suede leather) is fragile and most copies have tears or missing pieces of leather on the spine. That shouldn’t detract too much from the value as long as the text is complete with all illustrations and the pages are clean and undamaged, with no loose pages. You might get $300 to $500, depending on the condition. A nice copy with no major flaws can sell for $1,000 to $1200. Good luck with it.

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