|WHAT'S MY CALENDAR WORTH?
The most common question that I get about Tolkien calendars: "What is my calendar worth?"
The simple answer is, "Whatever someone is willing to pay for it." I am not trying to be sarcastic about this. I have watched A BUNCH of eBay auctions (the most common place to find many of the calendars you will find here.) I have seen some common ones sell for rather high prices (the result of what I consider unexplainable bidders' frenzy), and I have seen some truly rare ones go for the proverbial song.
So what determines their value? As with any collectible, there are several common factors. And there is at least one that is specific to calendars.
RARITY: The fewer created, the rarer the calendar, the higher the value. It is a simple matter of supply and demand. I refer you to my RARITY SCALE for both hard numbers (when I have been able to determine how many were created) and my subjective comments on them
MINT STATE: The early Ballantine and Allen&Unwin calendars were issued in corrugated cardboard mailers. Later issues were shrinkwrapped. Those that are still in their unopened envelopes/mailers or shrinkwrapped are generally harder to find than opened calendars.
CONDITION: If the calendar is no longer sealed in its mailer or shrinkwrapped, the closer it is to "mint state", the more highly prized it will probably be. For instance, collectors will look for cuts/tears (anywhere but especially on the fold if the calendar is saddle-stapled), folds/creases, dents, scratches on the front/back covers, writing on the calendar squares, missing pages, staining, foxing, and even rusty staples.
MAILER/ENVELOPE: The presence of the original mailer/envelope. Most of the comments above apply to the mailer. Some collectors will even look for the original Ballantine price sticker on the mailer! Oftentimes, the mailer was discarded by the original owner when the calendar was hung up in January. So it can be very difficult to find the early calendars with their mailers in collectible condition.
My best advice for the common (commercial issues from Ballantine, Allen&Unwin, and their HarperCollins successors) calendars is to watch eBay auctions to get a feel for the market. There are dozens of such auctions every month. For rare ones, the value is truly determined between buyer and seller. And if you have one that is not listed on this website,
please email me!! I would love to add it to the website (and my collection!)