Although the most expensive books tend to be the oldest
examples, popularity, school size (number of books made), and other
factors can enter into this. For instance, notice that the Shaq
O'Neal book is listed at $1,500. Today, he is considered the most
dominating player driving a possible dynasty in the NBA. Added to
this, he was in a class of only 78. Only a hundred or so books
exist. Personally, I would rather have the Amelia Earhart
The market is
very young on yearbooks. By 1995, only two yearbook archivists were
listing in trade magazines, Seth Poppel in New York, and myself.
Even today, there are very few staunch collectors.
cards, there is a lot of spread in prices. A Britney Spears yearbook
may go for as much as $1,000. It may also go for $200. Prices though
have risen very fast as of the last five years.
This list is
meant to be a sampling to give the reader an idea of value. The
prices are taken from records of sales through national auctions,
including eBay auctions, and private sales. A book would get a
higher price, for instance, if sold at Sotheby's, than say on eBay.
The values below are average prices for each particular
This sampling of
senior yearbook prices are for books in excellent condition (maybe
some wear if older, but all intact):
Delano Roosevelt, 1900 Groton, Mass., very rare ...
Amelia Earhart, 1914 Hyde Park High,
Ernest Hemmingway, 1917 Oak Park
John Wayne, 1925
Glendale High, Calif. Original name, Marion Mitchell Morrison. Not
only was he president of his class, but he was the Chairman of the
Senior Dance ..$2,500.
Ronald Reagan, 1928
Dixon High, Ill....$2,500.
John F. Kennedy, 1935
John Glenn, 1939 New
Concord High, Ohio...$800.
Marilyn Monroe, 1942
West Los Angeles High, Calif., as a sophomore, did not
Paul Newman, 1943 Shaker
Mickey Mantle, 1949 Commerce
High, Okla. He was not only a great athlete in football, basketball,
and baseball, but was also in the school play (a thespian!).
Graduated with 49 students....$2,500.
Dean, 1949 Fairmont High, Ind....$2,000.
Presley, Humes High, Memphis, Tenn. His major was "shop."
In the "Senior Predictions" section, the yearbook predicts Elvis
will be playing in a "hillbilly band."...$1,500, inscribed...$3,500.
Wilt Chamberlian, 1955 Overbrook High, Phil,
Janis Joplin, 1960 Jefferson
High, Port Arthur, Tex....$800.
1960 Main East High, Parkridge, Ill.... $600.
Clinton, 1964 Hot Springs High, Ark....$800.
Meryl Streep, 1967 Bernards High, New
Robin Williams, 1969 Redwood
High, Larkspur, Calif..$400.
1971 East Nashville High. Was in the National Forensic League, the
Honor Society, was voted "Most Popular" and Vice President of her
Madonna, 1976 Adams High,
Michael Jordan, 1981
Laney High, Wilmington, North Carolina....$1,800.
Pitt, 1982 Kickapoo High, Springfield, Missouri.....$300.
Shaquille O'Neal, 1989 Cole High, San Antonio,
yearbooks of the modern era 1960s-1990s go for $100 to $200. This
especially includes the myriad of television personalities, the
flash-in-the-pan actors and pop singers. The list I gave you was top
heavy on the big name people. Other examples are:
Jovi just sold for $150 in auction.
Crane (Hogan's Hero's) brought $125.
Letterman goes now for about $200.
Smith (Charlie's Angels)...$90.
Bonds, who just broke the homerun record ...$250.
Ron Howard ...$200
worth recording. The prices I have given are for retail. There could
be a buy price included on these books that would be from one-half
to two-thirds of retail.
Finally, most of the time, the senior
yearbook is considered most valuable. Some celebrities (Marilyn
Monroe, Marlon Brando, etc) did not finish high school. For some
(Johnny Unitas, Muhammad Ali, etc.) there was not a senior yearbook
produced. On occasion, the underclass yearbook may be of more value,
as in the case of Ted Williams who though only profiled in his
senior picture in his senior annual, is pictured on the baseball
team and glorified in a paragraph within the junior
Junior high (grades 6-9)
yearbooks can be more valuable than the senior high yearbooks
(9-12), since they are generally many times more difficult to
Ross is the owner of Spanky's Yearbook Archive in Iowa City, Iowa.
He can be reached at (319) 341-9474; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or via his website at
1. Bill Clinton
3. John F. Kennedy
4. John Wayne
6. Oprah Winfrey
7. Peter Falk