The concept of rarity in book collecting is tricky. While many novice collectors might believe rarity is the most important element in assessing a book’s value or worth, seasoned collectors understand rarity is in fact one of the more insignificant elements in judging what a volume is worth or its place in the landscape of rare books. The murky nature of rarity in book collecting stems to some degree from the ill defined character of the term. Essentially, rarity is too nebulous and relative a term for book sellers and collectors to base any substantive, concrete value.
However, because the idea of rarity has a certain cache or currency in book collecting, a number of myths have arisen and been propagated throughout the book collecting industry about the intrinsic value of rarity and its influence on accurately judging a volume’s value. These myths can be quite detrimental to the book collecting experience and can lead collectors down hazardous paths in their book collecting journey.