The Works of H.G. Wells

The Works of HG Wells 28-volume set, available from Royal Books Inc. Note that this is not the actual set that was valued on the show. Find this Copy Browse Their Books

The Books Guys is a weekly NPR radio show about books and collecting books. Recently, the show dipped into the twin worlds of science fiction and fantasy with Nelson Freck, the SF and F expert at Second Story Books in Washington DC, who offered his thoughts and expertise on the genres.

A number of AbeBooks customers had science fiction and fantasy books valued on the show with the valuations ranging from $5 to a whopping $10,000 for a set of HG Wells books.

Greg from Tampa discovered that his 1940 copy of Edgar Rice Buroughs’ Synthetic Men of Mars was worth just $5. But Anthea from Vancouver, BC, was thrilled to hear that her 28-volume set of The Works of HG Wells (the Atlantic Editions) was worth $10,000. Her limited edition set was #243 of 620. Anthea explained that spines on the books were slightly faded but they were otherwise in good condition. 

“Wells was an extraordinarily prolific writer. There are hundreds of novels and books that he has written and 90 per cent are not collectible,” said Allan Stypeck, the show’s resident rare book expert. “This set, however, I would not have any problem selling for $10,000.” 

The complete list of books valued on the show were:


  1. Who Goes There, by John W. Campbell - signed second edition (1951)
  2. Lud-in-the-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees (1927)
  3. Hard to be a God for a Dollar, by the Strugatsky Brothers - first edition (1974)
  4. The Complete Works, by H.G. Wells - Atlantic edition from Unwin (1925), #243 of 620
  5. Travels into several remote nations of the world, by Lemuel Gulliver - fifth edition (1794)
  6. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein (1959)
  7. Synthetic Men of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1940)

To listen to the show in its entirety, you can stream it in mp3 format here.

It's not too late to get your books valued. If you have a science fiction or fantasy book treasure in your attic that you'd like to get valued, let the Book Guys know.