On Monday I showed off one of my thrift finds, a vintage Happy Hollisters book for my collection. In case you're unfamiliar with the series, I thought I'd tell you a bit about them.
The Happy Hollisters series of books was produced from 1953 to 1969 and was a product of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, who were also responsible for the Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Hardy Boys series, and the Bobbsey Twins books, among many others. In most Stratemeyer series, a pen name was chosen (Carolyn Keene for the Nancy Drew books, for example) but the books were actually written by several authors. In the case of The Happy Hollisters, a pseudonym was chosen (Jerry West) but all 33 of the books in the series were written by the same man, Andrew Svenson.
Svenson modeled the Hollister family after his own--the children in the stories are based on his own children and the adventures they had while growing up. The father in the stories owns a hardware/toy store called The Trading Post and the family goes on all kinds of wholesome educational adventures that inevitably include a mystery.
I first encountered The Happy Hollisters books when I was in 4th or 5th grade. My mom had read the books as a child and introduced them to me, and luckily our local library had several titles. I read all that they had, although I'm sure I didn't read all 33 of them.
I started junk shopping and thrifting when I was in college, though I didn't start to do it with any regularity until we moved to Colorado, nearly eight years ago. Since the beginning of my thrifting adventures I've been on the lookout for Happy Hollisters books to start my own collection, and in all of that time I've only managed to find FIVE titles, including the one from last week! That's not counting titles I've found at antique stores, because I'm not so serious about my collection that I want to pay antique store prices. I'm cheap. :)
The books do sell on eBay, but really only in large lots. I haven't studied them well enough to know if there are any particularly rare volumes in the series that fetch higher prices individually. It's interesting to me that this lot of 28 went for $247, but this lot of 28 only went for $68. I'd say that second buyer got a deal!
There is an official Happy Hollisters website here, if you want to read more about the books and their author, Andrew Svenson. The series was hugely popular--one of the Stratemeyer Syndicate's most successful. In 2010, some of the titles were re-released in paperback and are even available on Amazon or in e-book format for your Kindle or Nook. Or you can always keep an eye out for the original hardbacks, like I'll be doing!