These much-loved, timeless children's books have fetched significant sums on the rare books market, so if you happen to have one sitting on your bookshelf, you could be in for a windfall! Check out the list below for some of the most valuable children's books.
1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll | 1865
When Alice follows a white rabbit down a rabbit hole, she discovers a wacky and wonderful underground world, filled with strange fauna and flora and a host of curious characters.
Only 2,000 copies of the first edition of this magical adventure were printed. Published in November 1865, these rare books have 7-figure price tags. Another 4,000 copies were published at the end of 1865 but are dated 1866; these are also extremely valuable. In 1832, Alice Liddell - the girl who may have inspired the main character of the book, although this is disputed - signed 500 copies, which are now sold for anywhere between 2,425 and 4,850 pounds.
2. The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien | 1937
This beloved tale stars a homely little hobbit who sets off on an exciting adventure in a perilous and magical world, encountering dwarves, wizards, trolls and many more curious characters.
The most valuable copies of this wondrous work are the first 1,500 first edition copies published in the UK on 21st September 1937 by Allen & Unwin. In 2003, one copy sold for a whopping 45,050 pounds.
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
J. K. Rowling | 1997
Harry believes he is an ordinary (if rather neglected) child - until, on his eleventh birthday, a half-giant with a magical umbrella shows up, and tells Harry that he's a wizard!
This spellbinding story was the start of a phenomenally successful series of books. Only 500 first editions exist, printed by Bloomsbury in June 1997, and 300 of those belong to libraries. The other 200 are hugely valuable; in 2005, a 1997 first edition sold for 25,650 pounds.
4. Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak | 1963
This stunning picture book stars Max, a mischievous little boy who is sent to bed one night without his supper. His room transforms into a magical forest and he meets the 'Wild Things': big, furry, unruly creatures, who crown Max as their king.
The most valuable copies of this book are the 1963 first editions, published by Harper & Row. Signed books are worth considerably more. In 2012, a signed first edition sold for 25,000 dollars.
5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Roald Dahl | 1964
Charlie Bucket can't believe his luck when he finds one of the highly-prized Golden Tickets in a chocolate bar and gets to take a tour around Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. But this particular tour is going to be a rather unusual one, filled with exciting twists and turns...
Only 10,000 copies of Roald Dahl's most popular book were initially printed in 1964 and they sold out in four weeks. The most valuable copies are September 1964 first editions, published by Knopf and signed by Dahl. In 2015, one such copy sold for 17,330 pounds.
6. The Velveteen Rabbit
Margery Williams | 1922
This beloved tale about the adorable toy rabbit that wants to become real was first published in 1922. In 2013, a US first edition sold for a staggering 11,055 pounds.
A. A. Milne | 1926
These gorgeous stories about Christopher Robin, Pooh Bear and all their cuddly friends have proved to be timeless tales, hugely popular ever since the book's publication by Methuen in 1926. The ideal copy would be a first edition signed by A. A. Milne and preferably his illustrator, E. H. Shepard, too. In 2016, a copy signed by both Milne and Shepard, and which contained a bookplate showing Milne's London address, sold for 8,215 pounds.
8. A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle | 1962
This thrilling sci-fi novel follows three children as they jump through a gap in time and embark on an exciting but perilous adventure. It was first published in 1962 by Ariel Books, and in 2015, a first edition sold for 7,625 pounds.
9. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum | 1900
When Dorothy Gale's house is swept up in a tornado and planted in the strange and magical Land of Oz, she will find herself going on a riveting journey, accompanied by a Scarecrow, a Tin Woodman and a Cowardly Lion.
The most valuable copies of this enchanting tale are 1900 first editions, published by Geo M. Hill. In 2012, a first edition sold for 6,100 pounds.
10. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
J. M. Barrie | 1906
The eternally-young and mischievous Peter Pan first appeared in a play in 1904, but finally got his own book in 1906. This origin story follows Peter as he escapes from his London home and travels to Kensington Gardens, where he makes friends with the fairies. In 2016, a first edition published by Hodder & Stoughton and signed by Arthur Rackham (the original illustrator) sold for 4,505 pounds.
Information from abebooks.co.uk