The Atkins Bookshelf Literary Christmas Price Index: 2016

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Back in 1984, the PNC Bank (a bank based in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania) developed the Christmas Price Index that totals the cost of all the gifts mentioned in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a flippant economic indicator. In 1984, the Christmas Price Index was $12,623.10; more than three decades later, in 2016, it has reached $34,363.49.

Despite their symbolism, the twelve gifts of Christmas are, at bottom, quite random and totally lost on a booklover (really? twelve gifts mentioned in the song, and not a single book!) Therefore, Bookshelf introduced the Atkins Bookshelf Literary Christmas Price Index in 2014 that would be far more interesting to bibliophiles. The Atkins Bookshelf Literary Christmas Price Index replaces all those unwanted animals and performers with first editions of cherished classic Christmas books. The cost of current first editions are determined by the latest data available from Abe Books, the leading online antiquarian bookseller.

For 2016, the Atkins Bookshelf Christmas Price Index is $76,414 (shipping and tax are not included), a miserly decrease of 5% over the price index of 2015 ($80,489).The biggest hit to your wallet — by a very large margin — is Charles Dickens’s very coveted and valuable first edition of one of the most well-known literary classics — A Christmas Carol ($35,000 unchanged from 2015). The second most expensive Christmas book, coming in at $7,500 (losing 50% of its value from last year), is Clement C. Moore’s classic poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (more commonly known at “The Night Before Christmas”) that has largely influenced how Santa Claus is depicted. The poem was included in a collection of Moore’s poems in 1844, a year after the publication of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. The biggest change in value was Philip Van Doren Stern’s The Greatest Gift that shot up to $7,500 from $2,000 last year — an increase of 375%. Below are the individual costs of the books that make up the Atkins Bookshelf Christmas Price Index.

A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens: $35,000
A Visit from St. Nicholas (included in Poems, 1844) by Clement C. Moore: $7,500
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) by Dr. Seuss: $9,791
A Christmas Memory (1966) by Truman Capote: $4,500
The Polar Express (1985) by Chris Van Allsburg: $2,500
The Nutcracker (1984 edition) by E. T. A. Hoffman: $1,950
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) by Valentine Davies: $1,100
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902) by L. Frank Baum: $5,156
The Greatest Gift (1944) by Philip Van Doren Stern: $7,500
Christmas at Thompson Hall (included in Novellas, 1883) by Anthony Trollope: $150
Old Christmas from the Sketchbook of Washington Irving (1886) by Washington Irving: $200
The Gift of the Magi (included in The Four Million, 1905) by O. Henry: $1,067 (1927 ed.)

Total $76,414

Read related posts: The Origin of the Name Scrooge
The Inspiration for Dickens’s A Christmas Carol
What is a First Edition of A Christmas Carol Worth?
The Story Behind “The Night Before Christmas”

Words invented by Dickens
Why Read Dickens?

For further reading: https://www.pnc.com/en/about-pnc/topics/pnc-christmas-price-index.html

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