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Some of the role playing materials I've found have come in regular and collectors' edition versions. This has me curious - is there a significant collectors' market for role-playing game materials, books, and other paraphernalia?

Can I get rich by selling my old D&D books?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

The following information is about TSR only, but they were by no means the only early producers. Flying Buffalo released lots of roleplaying products (mostly Tunnels & Trolls), and Game Designers Workshop (GDW) produced the first major Science Fiction RPG (Traveller).

The value of products released in (and related to) the first decade of roleplaying -- roughly 1972 to 1982 -- has been steadily rising. TSR didn't produce character sheets or modules initially, so those (mostly by Wee Warriors) have gained considerably. TSR's first sheets can bring 5 $US per blank sheet as of this writing. Some early TSR modules (such as Tsojconth, Inverness, and Tamoachan) were produced in limited quantities and sold at conventions (often in Michigan), and can easily bring 500-1500 $US.

Roots material, defined as anything leading up to Original D&D, can have astounding value. Most notable in this line is the newsletter "Domesday Book", produced by the Lake Geneva (WI) Castle & Crusade society, and very few copies have appeared. The sole known copy of issue #2 (one page front/back) sold for 18,000 $US in 2008.

Playtest copies & related notes have significant value, especially those related to the first AD&D hardbacks. Also, British creations got started quite early, as OD&D arrived by 1974, and early newsletters & unauthorized adventure modules from the 1970s can bring dozens or hundreds of dollars.

  • The big shift in RPG collecting came in 1983, when TSR revised their image and settled on fixed module formats. From that point onward it is very difficult to identify specific printings, and print runs were far larger than previously, effectively negating collectability.

If you want to resell your old D&D materials, be sure to examine them closely to find their printing and rarity. Collectors commonly see two extremes: items priced far above, and super-rares priced far below, their current market values. The best guide for this information is at Acaeum.com. Do your homework before reselling. :)

-- GenCon auctioneer, 1982-present

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Maybe not rich, but GENCON does have a auction every year for old gaming supplies.

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...and the Collectible (and semi-) sessions are each evening, the rarest & best being on Friday (so deep-pocket buyers have covered their most-wanteds, leaving Saturday to plan purchases within their remaining budgets.) –  ExTSR Jan 28 '11 at 21:10
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The market for older editions collapsed with the PDF craze.

While I have, in the past, received $200+ serious offers for my brown-cover D&D books, their value dropped to about $25-$50 when WOTC released PDFs of them. When WOTC pulled the PDFs, Retroclones took off, leaving the value deflated.

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While not the sort of thing to make one rich, many 3.5 edition D&D books are currently selling for roughly cover price on Amazon (as I found to my chagrin). The core books are selling for a little more than cover, and supplements less, depending of course on condition.

In particular a new PHB 3.5 was selling for $95 and up when I checked.

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Just curious why the downvote. –  C. Ross Jan 29 '11 at 13:11
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