If you are looking for an occult book that is rare or hard to find, an online bookstore that specializes in occult works may have the title you want. Rare occult books are prized by collectors who are interested in the supernatural, and they have an added bit of mystery because of their subject matter. You can find them at specialized bookstores and websites but be careful; reprints and reproductions abound.
What Is a Rare Occult Book?
As with any other book, a rare occult book is one that is difficult to find. Often these books are rare because they are old or simply out of print. Of course being rare does not automatically make a book valuable, but many rare occult books actually are quite valuable to collectors.
The more difficult part of the definition is what exactly makes a book an occult book. Many people might automatically think of witches and pagans when they think of the occult, but that is not the end of the story. Occult books are sometimes called "esoteric" as well. They might have to do with magic, ancient religions, or secret societies that aren't well understood.
For instance, at one online bookstore for occult books, Poto Books and Herb Company, categories include:
- Occult philosophy
You might also find books about voodoo, ghosts, mediums, people with unexplained powers and even UFOs classified under "occult."
Rare Books on the Occult
The following are several occult books that are considered very rare:
- One of the earliest published occult books, De Lamiis et Pythonicis Mulieribus by Ulrich Molitor is considered one of the rarest, if not the rarest, occult book. Published in 1489 It was also the first occult book to include illustrations.
- Another extremely rare occult book published in 1744 is Les Œuvres Magiques de Henri-Corneille Agrippa by Pierre d'Aban. The book includes many occult secrets including the evocation of spirits and ceremonial magick.
- The original manuscript of Aleister Crowley's The Book of Thoth is a very important work about the tarot.
- The Collected Works (1905-1907) by Aleister Crowley is a set of three books on the author's knowledge of magick, mythology and religion. The first edition, sole printing, is very rare.
- A Complete History of Magick, Sorcery, and Witchcraft (1715) by Richard Boulton includes various accounts and relationships of of magick, witchcraft and sorcery. The book also includes an account of the first rise of witches and sorcerers, accounts of scarce witch trials and a collection of arguments against witchcraft by John Locke.
Finding Rare Occult Books
It is relatively easy to find rare occult books online, as many websites are set up to sell occult books or have these books as part of their inventory. Here are a few good places to start your search:
Of course the general used bookstores like Powell's, Alibris and AbeBooks are all good choice for looking for rare occult books. These websites all have rare book "rooms" that feature older books as well as first editions and leather-bound volumes.
A final place online you might want to look is eBay. You never know what you're going to find on the giant auction site, and you just might find the perfect rare book you've been looking for.
In the offline world, search your local rare bookstore or used bookstore, if you have one. Make friends with the owner or buyer and let them know what you are looking for. If they don't have books to suit your taste, odds are they will start buying some when they see them and even holding them for you.
Other places to look for a rare occult book include antique stores, estate sales and garage sales. You're less likely to find exactly what you want one of these places, but if you ever get word that there's an auction or estate sale involving lots of old books, it might be worth a visit just in case there's something you can't live without.
Occult Book Values
It can be difficult to discern the true market value of rare occult books because it is such a niche market, but if you can find an expert who is willing to look at your collection, you should be able to get a good estimate of what your books are worth.
If you are trying to decide if a book you want to buy is worth the money, try to find other copies of the book, if any are available, to compare prices. Of course the condition of different rare books, particularly old ones, can vary widely, so don't go for the bargain-priced book unless you're only buying the book for the information inside and don't care if the spine is broken or the pages are falling out.
When you go to sell any rare occult books you have accumulated, heading to the Internet or your local used bookstore is again a good idea. Compare prices on your particular title if you can find it, or on other occult books from the same era. Knock out the highest and lowest prices and take an average of the rest. That will give you a good idea of a fair price for your book.
A Word of Caution
If you are thinking of purchasing a book on the occult that is generally considered rare and the price seems unusually low, check to make certain the book is not a reproduction, digital reproduction or an ebook that is being sold. Many rare and hard-to-find occult books are being reproduced and sold in these ways. For example The Book Of Occult Power (1801) by Sephariel, is highly sought after. The book also called the Manual of Occultism and is being sold as an ebook on several websites. Naturally, if you are only interested in the information the book contains, then you will have a great buy. If you are looking for an authentic work make sure you are getting the real thing.