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Encyclopedia Britannica

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Where would I go to find the cost of a set in 1972? I'm just starting my hand at research and it's so hard to find specifics!! Thanks!
#1 - March 10, 2012, 06:16 PM

Tracy, here's a thread about how much a set of World Book cost in the 70s.  I'll keep looking for Britannica.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=173306

I had to make do with Funk & Wagnalls.
#2 - March 10, 2012, 06:26 PM

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THANK YOU!!

What search criteria did you use? I am totally not getting the hang of this.
#3 - March 10, 2012, 08:47 PM

I'm not sure what I typed in, exactly, because my computer won't tell me right now, but I think I just typed in something like

what did encyclopedia set cost in 70s

If you do that, the thread I linked comes up as #4.

I tried a lot of other searches specific to Britannica, but only found people asking what an old set of Britannica is worth now, etc.  I did find a sort of news article about a guy who collects and still uses encyclopedia sets.  He said his parents bought Britannica in the 70s from an encyclopedia salesman and it used to come (one by one, I assume?) in boxes and it was a big deal, opening them.  But he didn't say how much they paid.

If you want, I can find that story for you.

I also read the description of a 70s set on Ebay and it sounds like with the leather binding and gilt edges and color illustrations, they were worth the money!

I vaguely remember my mother picking up the new Funk & Wagnalls volumes when they came out.  She bought them at the A&P.  I think they only cost a couple of dollars each, at the most.  No gilt.
#4 - March 11, 2012, 05:33 AM

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Have you asked a research librarian about this? One line I'd follow would be to look for databases of magazines, and search for advertisements.

Or contact the company and ask them! They must have records somewhere.
#5 - March 11, 2012, 06:42 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

That's what someone did in the thread that was linked--only they contacted World Book, not Britannica.
#6 - March 11, 2012, 07:13 AM

I remember encyclopedia salesmen! It was about $20/volume for each volume. It was a big investment for a family to get one. Our set had a huge feature on the moon landing (great photos) but nothing on Watergate so they must have been from the early 1970s.
#7 - March 11, 2012, 07:21 AM

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That's what someone did in the thread that was linked--only they contacted World Book, not Britannica.

I hadn't checked the link, but it's good to know that can work.
#8 - March 11, 2012, 07:33 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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Hi, nniTracy,

I don't know if this helps you but I won a set of Encyclopedia Britannica as a kid...right around that time. I think it came with both the beautiful adult set AND the junior set and for some reason it sticks in my mind that it was a $500+ value. You could pick the books or a trip to Florida for four (without transportation.)

You had to watch a program on television (something like National Geographic) and provide the correct answers to 'trivia' type questions on the entry form. It was probably the only thing I ever won and it was prized in our family for years.
#9 - March 11, 2012, 08:03 AM

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Thanks again Jaina - if it isn't too much trouble to find the article again, that would be great help.
Harold and Kurtis - thanks for that info. We have a great library close by that would most likely be able to help and getting an estimate of what the volumes cost is so helpful. Kurtis - do you happen to remember how many volumes there were?
TH - that is awesome! I do remember watching something like that, too. Was it Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom maybe?

You guys are so awesome! I spent a good two hours last night and didn't come up with much more - but I did see hints that you could get a set with S&H green stamps, just no confirmation. I'll be looking into that further.
#10 - March 11, 2012, 11:35 AM

This was the article: http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2008/05/outofdate_encyclopedia_sets_di.html

BTW, that article seems to imply there were 32 volumes in the 70s, but the sets from that era that I saw on Ebay had about 24 volumes, I think.
#11 - March 11, 2012, 11:41 AM
« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 11:43 AM by Jaina »

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