We’ve assembled a price list for first-edition romance novels that are collector’s items. These out-of-print books are among some of the most expensive romance novels you can find.
The Great Book Purge of 1995
My Teenage Romance Novel Collection
At Sweet Savage Flame, we’ve previously talked about where to look for vintage romance novels.
When I was 17 years old, I amassed a library of over 500 first-edition romance novels.
I had spent all my teenage years curating my collection, subscribing to monthly book clubs, trading novels with friends, and scouring the bookstores at malls and shopping centers (most are now defunct, like B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, and Borders, although Barnes-and-Noble is still around).
Not to mention searching stationery stores, drug stores, supermarkets, and UBSes (used bookstores).
Plus, thrift shops, hospitals, libraries, and garage sales for rare and coveted titles!
But not the internet, since the years I collected them (1990 to 1995) were back in “ye olden days” of the 1900s.
When I left for college in August of 1995, I made the mistake of leaving my beloved books at home. There were category romances: Harlequin Temptations, Presents, and Romances; Silhouette Desires; and Bantam Loveswepts.
Of course, there were historicals: I subscribed to Harlequin Historicals and Zebra Lovegrams. And so many first editions: Johanna Lindsey, Rebecca Brandewyne, Jude Deveraux, and Catherine Coulter, as well as newer authors like Lisa Kleypas and Beverly Jenkins.
Plus, all my juicy Jackie Collins novels and V.C. Andrews’s original keyhole stepbacks.
Gone With the Wind! (No, I Borrowed That One From the Library)
My father, thinking they were just useless paperbacks cluttering up the house, threw them all out. He had no idea that my collection was worth a small fortune, with some of the most expensive romances a collector would cherish.
Those first editions with the original cover art and the foil-embossed covers, all those now-priceless stepbacks, and my copy of The Thornbirds with Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward on the front…all gone!
I refer to that loss as The Great Book Purge. Even though I’ve recouped some of the books, it came at a price. The loss still haunts me to this day.
That experience taught me the value of vintage book collecting and the importance of educating others on the worth of literary treasures.
Vintage Romance Book Collecting
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most difficult first-edition old-school paperback romance novels to track down. They are hard to find, expensive, and rare. Some of these books we’re lucky to have in our collection and others we once had and sold or lost (how foolish!).
The original editions of these romances are (obviously) out-of-print and hard to find. If you do, they will be very expensive if you purchase them via mail-order.
One negative is that you can never be sure what condition they’ll be in when you get them.
Out in the wild, at thrift stores, etc., you may find them for a bargain. In pristine condition, no less. If you do, snatch them up!
And finally, there are those we’d pay our weight in gold to have. (Well, birth weight, anyway! 😜)
Out-Of-Print Or First Editions Priced from $15 to $40
- Judy Cuevas – Bliss
$12 – $25(As of March 2023) $35 – $60
- Eleanora De Vincent – Dark Dream of Love
$15(As of March 2023) $40 – $100+
- Teresa Denys – The Flesh and the Devil
$15-40(As of March 2023) $50 – $100+
- (Depends on whether paperback or hardcover)
- Christina Dodd – Castles in the Air
$15 – 30(As of March 2023) $30 – $100+
- (3-armed-version) Avon, 1993
- Beverly Jenkins – Always and Forever
$20 – $30(As of March 2023) $8 – $50
- Beverly Jenkins – Before the Dawn
$25 – $35(As of March 2023) $5 – $25
- Beverly Jenkins – Belle and the Beau
$25 – $40(As of March 2023) $45 – $60
- Charlotte Lamb – Temptation
$20 – $50(As of March 2023) $5 – $30
- Francine Rivers – Not So Wild A Dream
$20 – $40(As of March 2023) $20 – $50
- Francine Rivers – A Fire in the Heart
$20 – $60(As of March 2023) $30 – $99
- Francine Rivers – Outlaw’s Embrace
$25(As of March 2023) $25 – 40
- Francine Rivers – Rebel in His Arms
$25-$30(As of March 2023) $80 – 100
Hard to Find Books That Will Cost About $40-50+
- Lisa Kleypas – Give Me Tonight $35-$60
- Lisa Kleypas – Love, Come to Me $65- $80
- Francine Rivers – Redeeming Love $50 – $70
- (Original only)
- Francine Rivers – Heart In Hiding $30 – $90
- Francine Rivers – Kathleen $25 – $75
- Francine Rivers – Sycamore Hill $30 – $60
- Janet Louise Roberts / Louisa Bronte– Her Demon Lover $30 – $50
- Depends on which version (Regular Avon Gothic or Avon Satanic Gothic)
- June Lund Shiplett – Journey to Yesterday 1977 $20-$50
- Tracy West – A Lesson In Love $35 – $90
- Original Version, Silhouette First Love,1982
- Patricia Vaughan – Shadows On the Bayou $50- $60
- Valerie Vayle – Night Fire $60 – $90
The Great White Whales of Romance Novels $100+
(aka) Romances That Are Darn Near Impossible to Find–and If You Do, You’ll Have to Pay A Lot
- Teresa Denys – The Silver Devil
$150-???(As of March) 2023 $200 – $???
- (Depends on whether the 1980 Futura version or 1984 Ballantine edition w/ H. Tom Hall cover)
- Judy Cuevas – Dance $150 – $300
- Beverly Jenkins – Indigo $200 – GOOD LUCK!
- (Original) Avon
- Beverly Jenkins – Night Song $150 – GOOD LUCK!
- (Original) Avon, 1994
- Nicole Jordan – Velvet Embrace $70 – $100
- Original 1987 Zebra Edition
- Lisa Kleypas – Where Passion Leads $250 – $500
- Lisa Kleypas – Forever My Love $100 – $250
- Francine Rivers – Hearts Divided $150 – $200
- Francine Rivers – This Golden Valley $90 – $200
- Francine Rivers – Sarina $100 – $200
- Nora Roberts – Promise Me Tomorrow $90 – $150
- Day Taylor – The Black Swan $100 – $150
- Rosalind Welles – Entwined Destinies $150 – $300
What do you think of these expensive, hard-to-find romances? Would you pay that much for these books?
What hard-to-find, out-of-print books did we miss? Do you own any of these romance novels?
As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance!