Written by Johnny Gruelle, after the doll he designed in 1915 for his daughter, Marcella, this is one of the more prized vintage Raggedy Ann books. If, and this is a big IF, it had its original box and was in excellent (likely unmarked) condition, it might sell for $1000 or more.
But this copy is likely far raggedier than the original rag doll whose face Gruelle artfully first decorated for his daughter. It is said that after Gruelle created the doll’s face, he decided to name her “Raggedy Ann” – a combination (or should we say unsolicited collaboration) between James Whitcomb Riley’s famed poem, “The Raggedy Man” and the popular cartoon, “Little Orphan Annie.” Copying (borrowing) is always the sincerest form of flattery – or in Gruelle’s case, genius.
My copy, found at a sale of antiquarian books, was marked $1 due to its condition – which, if I were being truthful, (as I am, always), would be considered South of “Poor.” First Edition aside, its hinge is weak, a few pages are loose and/or tattered, and some still bear the grimy fingerprints of the 1930s-era children who owned this.
Nevertheless, as a fan of both Raggedy Ann and of cookies, I snapped up the book, as fast as you can say “Ginger“. It has value to me – not only sentimental value, but also as a very good reminder about future book scouting adventures. Paraphrasing the old saw about buying real estate, there are only three words that must be considered when purchasing an old book for value.
And those three words are “Condition, condition, condition.”