The Atkins Bookshelf Literary Christmas Price Index: 2017


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 2017, it has reached $34,558.65.

Despite their symbolism, the twelve gifts of Christmas are not only extremely random, they are more of a nuisance than carefully-selected gifts that you would actually cherish. Imagine all those animals running and flying about helter-skelter, defecating all over your recently shampooed carpets, not to mention the ceaseless sound of drummers drumming and pipers piping pushing you toward the brink of a mental breakdown. The holidays are stressful enough. Truly, no booklover would be happy with these gifts. Bah humbug! 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 mess-making animals and clamorous 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 2017, the Atkins Bookshelf Christmas Price Index is $95,683 (shipping and tax are not included), a generous increase of 125% over the price index of 2016 ($76,414) — something that would be sure to bring a smile to that old curmudgeon Scrooge. The biggest hit to your wallet — by a very large margin — is Charles Dickens’ very coveted and valuable first edition of one of the most well-known literary classics — A Christmas Carol ($40,000, an increase of $5,000 from last year). The second most expensive Christmas book, coming in at $15,000 — doubling 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 L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus that shot up to $12,151 from $5,156 last year — an increase of 236%. Below are the individual costs of the books that make up the Atkins Bookshelf Christmas Price Index.

A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens: $40,000
A Visit from St. Nicholas (included in Poems, 1844) by Clement C. Moore: $15,000
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) by Dr. Seuss: $10,415
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: $950
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) by Valentine Davies: $875
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902) by L. Frank Baum: $12,151
The Greatest Gift (1944) by Philip Van Doren Stern: $8,800
Christmas at Thompson Hall (included in Novellas, 1883) by Anthony Trollope: $150
Old Christmas from the Sketchbook of Washington Irving (1886) by Washington Irving: $92
The Gift of the Magi (included in The Four Million, 1905) by O. Henry: $250 (1919 ed.)

Total $95,683

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: