Mississippi State University Libraries Mississippi State University Mississippi State University

The Rare Book Collection houses, preserves, and protects thousands of rare and diverse volumes, and makes them available to researchers. Through the years, MSU Libraries has purchased or received donations of many important, historic and valuable books.

MSU Libraries' Rare Book Collection includes:

  • Books printed before 1501
  • Books printed in any language before 1700
  • Books printed in America before 1825
  • Books printed in the American South before 1861
  • Confederate imprints (books printed in the American South between 1861 and 1865)
  • Books printed west of the Mississippi River before 1850
  • Books with fine or special bindings from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries
  • Books valued at $500 or more

A book of high intrinsic importance which has a demand greater than the available supply, thus creating a market value.

Many factors play a part in determining a book's rarity:

Importance of content

Is the content of historical interest?

Uniqueness

Is it one of the only examples of its kind?

Scarcity

Are there few existing copies?

Printing date

Was the book printed long ago, or in a significant time period?

Edition

Is it a first or limited edition?

Condition

Is the book in good condition?

Association

Did the author, or someone close to the author, a famous person, or someone who was associated with the book, own or annotate the book?

Binding and printing

Is the book bound or printed with a specific material or technique? Was it printed by an important printer?

For more information:

Fred Smith, Coordinator of Rare Books

   (662) 325-3935             fsmith@library.msstate.edu