News-Antique.com - Mar 17,2009 - Cookbooks are a popular collectible. You can find cookbooks for pennies at estate sales, thrift shops, garage sales, flea markets, and library book sales. In the beginning most people don’t intend to be a cookbook collector. However, reading cookbooks is addictive. I am a cookbook junkie. It started when I picked up a Kate Smith cookbook, not because I wanted recipes, but because it had a picture of her on the cover. One day I was trying to think of something new for dinner, so I started browsing my find. That was all it took to get me hooked. I’m working on my second bookcase full now.
People collect cookbooks for different reasons. Some just like to use the recipes, others find them humorous. Cookbooks are like history books. They record culture and history from a kitchen point of view. Older cookbooks hold valuable information. They are a testament to the era and lifestyle of the American home.
Collectors may specialize in one particular type of cookbook like food company publications. The Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbooks are very popular. Early Jell-O cookbooks are actually comic books featuring celebrities. Advertising cookbooks or booklets are enormously popular and for good reason. Usually given away free, these slim, often lavishly illustrated volumes are worth anywhere from $4-$100 today.
People also collect cookbooks for their colorful, artistic covers or the graphics used in the illustrations. Some may focus on a particular category of food or cooking method like baking or vegetarian recipes. You might favor church cookbooks, celebrity penned cookbooks, cookbooks for children, professional chef-written cookbooks and even recipe books devoted to a singular subject.
Most book collecting experts agree that a specialized collection has more intrinsic value than a generalized assortment. In other words, the whole is worth more then the sum of its parts. The average cookbook collector has little concern for value. They just seem driven to have every single recipe ever published.
As the owner of Mama’s Treasures I buy a lot of cookbooks. I try to find interesting and fun ones in good condition. I especially like the ones by Meta Given, Lily Haxworth Wallace, Ruth Berolzheimer, and Helen Corbitt. I mean who can resist a Molly Goldberg Jewish cookbook or a 1930 Chicago Daily News one. At Mama’s Treasures we specialize in Kitchen Collectibles of the 1940s through the 1980s. We are proud of the quality kitchenware and cookbooks we stock and would like you to come and browse our products. If nothing else, they’re sure to bring back a memory or two. So why not take a break, grab some coffee, and take a stroll to a less complicated time at Mama's Treasures.