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What is the Difference Between Rare and Antique Books?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2019
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There are several differences between rare and antique books, although both types of books do tend to have some things in common. A rare book is typically defined as any type of book that is scarce and hard to find. Any book that is considered antique might also be rare, but it cannot be considered antique unless it is old. Additionally, there are some antique books that are not hard to find and therefore cannot be considered rare. People are often on the lookout for both rare and antique books because both types of books tend to be of value.

Rare books do not necessarily have to be antiques, although many rare books are antiques because there are so many antique books that are scarce. Some types of books that are considered rare that may not be antiques are limited edition and first edition copies of books. Publishers often print only a small number of limited edition books, which means they tend to become rare once all the copies that will be available have been printed. A first edition of a book is also typically considered rare because a first edition comes from the first print run of any book once it has been released. Subsequent print runs of books are usually not considered as valuable as books that come from the first print run.

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Most books that are more than a certain number of years old are considered antiques regardless of whether or not they are also rare. It does seem to often be the case that many antique books are also rare because by the time books reach the age where they are considered antiques, publishers have either stopped printing the books altogether or have stopped printing the editions of books that are antique. People tend to have different ideas concerning at what point a book can be considered an antique, but in most cases books that are at least 30 years old are considered antiques.

Both rare and antique books are often sought after by people because they usually have value, and money can often be made by selling them. Book collectors don't always seek out rare and antique books for the purpose of selling them and may instead look for them because they want to keep them to add to their collections. The most valuable types of rare and antique books are typically those that are both rare and antique. Rare books and antique books are usually worth some money on their own, but when books are both rare and antique, the monetary value tends to go up considerably.

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