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Every now and again on social media, I share recipes from my collection of 1800's cookbooks. I'm often asked the question, "Where do you find your old vintage cookbooks, without spending a ton of money?"
Today on YouTube I had SO much fun answering that question!
You can see that video right here. I share all my tricks for finding really old volumes for surprisingly small price tags.
You won't build an 1800's cookbook collection overnight if you're working with a shoestring budget. But with a little time, and a willingness to walk away from volumes that are priced too high, it can absolutely be done!
Where to find affordable vintage cookbooks
This is actually where I find most of my vintage cookbooks. Yes, it's easy to be dismayed at some of the high prices on collectible volumes. But if you haunt the old cookbooks corner of eBay long enough, you're going to see some amazing deals.
In fact, at the bottom of this article, I link to 35 different pre-1900 cookbooks that are available on eBay right now, under $50. Don't want to scroll? Click here to skip right to that list!
The search engine on Etsy drives me absolutely batty, but there are sometimes amazing deals to be found on old cookbooks here. One way to get around the problematic internal search engine is to instead search Google, for 1800's cookbooks on Etsy. This will generally show you items that have already sold, but it puts those sellers on your radar.
Then, if you notice that a certain seller has sold quite a few interesting old cookbooks in the past, flagging that shop to receive updates when they list new items can be a way to get early dibs on any great finds they may list in the future.
This one can be a bit more time consuming, and you never know what you'll find. BUT--I've found that if you see a yard sale with clearly antique items, plus notice boxes of books, those are the types of yard and garage sales that can be most likely to yield some treasured finds.
Your local used book seller
Don't be daunted by the high prices you might see on vintage cookbooks, when perusing the shelves of your local purveyor of used books. Ask if they have a discount section where they pile all the books that don't make it onto the shelves. I've found quite a number of beautiful old cookbooks and housekeeping guides in the dollar book barn at my local bookstore, or on the 50 cent shelf at a used bookstore near Boston that I used to frequent.
Think of this as a virtual flea market for used book sellers. This can be another good place to find used cookbooks! If you go to Abebooks.com, and then search for cookbooks, you can then choose to sort the results by ascending publication year.
This is a great way to get around the limited search engine, and lets you browse through the old cookbooks from oldest to newest. There can be some great finds on here!
Don't discount the possibility of finding 1800's volumes right in your local Craigslist listings. One helpful tool can be to search for cookbooks within the antiques and collectibles category. Then save the search and choose to receive alerts. You'll get an email any time someone posts a new cookbook, or lot of cookbooks, to the Antiques category.
Many of the titles I treasure in my own collection, have come from estate sales. Some of my favorite eBay sellers frequent the sales of old estates, and then they sell the cookbooks individually on eBay.
If you happen to live in an area that has old estates being sold, eliminating the middle man, and going to the sales yourself could be a great way to score some amazing history!
As promised, here are those listings for 35 different cookbooks from the 1800's, that are all available on eBay right now, for $50 or less. There are some great deals in here!
Here are 35 beautiful 1800's cookbooks available under $50 right now on eBay:
Antique The Everyday CookBook Handwritten Recipes 1890's Miss E Neil cookery: https://ebay.us/mUOOk1
The White House Cookbook: A Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information for the Home: https://ebay.us/gOsAcP
1899 Edition of the White House Cookbook: https://ebay.us/l4aNZY
Rare Antique The Favorite Cook Book Grace Townsend 1894 Edition Loved Condition: https://ebay.us/52KBDM
1893 Choice Receipts Recipes Walter Baker & Co. Cocoa & Chocolate Recipes: https://ebay.us/BzlaXf
Common Sense in the Household Practical Housewifery 1871 by Marion Harland: https://ebay.us/khsqNd
Common Sense In The Household A Manual Housewife Cookbook by Marion Harland 1880 Printing: https://ebay.us/F5EwTV
1879 Buckeye Cookery & Practical Housekeeping Recipes Pioneer Cookbook Antique: https://ebay.us/1xRUZa
The Complete Practical Confectioner in Eight Parts - 6th Ed. 1882: https://ebay.us/1Vcm5W
The Complete Practical Confectioner in 8 Parts, 1890 Printing: https://ebay.us/JmFqAA
The Domestic Encyclopedia 1821 AFM Willich: https://ebay.us/tFkU9P
Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book The Boston Cooking School 1891: https://ebay.us/FA06kr
1886 old antique Victorian cookbook Practical Housekeeping: https://ebay.us/FuTOd2
1884, "Practical Cookin; g And Dinner Giving" by Mrs. Mary F Henderson: https://ebay.us/xeGEzW
1890 Compendium of Cookery & Reliable Recipes Blakeslee: https://ebay.us/gFw8oK
Compendium of Cookery & Reliable Recipes-1896 Printing: https://ebay.us/g8cUNI
The Home Queen Cook Book: https://ebay.us/KOymhE
1885 First Edition HC: The Invalid’s Tea Tray by Susan Anna Brown: https://ebay.us/FNCGeE
“Hood's Practical Cook's Book” 1897: https://ebay.us/9mKQ6r
Handbook of Invalid Cooking-1893- For Use of Nurses Who Care for the Sick: https://ebay.us/npbENp
Ladies Home Cook Book Julia MacNair Wright 1896: https://ebay.us/IIJOrz
1890 The Pattern Cook Book: https://ebay.us/4YlemU
How To Cook Vegetables By Mrs. S.T. Rorer 1892: https://ebay.us/NQALbf
1855 Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book: https://ebay.us/Onux3M
The Fayetteville Cook Book 1895-Daughters of the American Revolution: https://ebay.us/PQJBJU
Twenty Five Cent Dinners For Families Of Six By Juliet Corson 1885: https://ebay.us/uH278C
STATESMEN'S DISHES; AND HOW TO COOK THEM by Benjamin Harrison: https://ebay.us/S0jnHF
New Process Catalogue and Cook Book (The Standard Lighting Company) 1894: https://ebay.us/V3koYI
1892 The Perfect Art of Canning and Preserving, Butterick Co: https://ebay.us/IIGTGR
CHOICE COOKERY by Catherine Owen-1889: https://ebay.us/5F9ibc
Ransom's Family Receipt Book 1884: https://ebay.us/rjWxHP
Cookery for Invalids 1887: https://ebay.us/Xspb4d
The Daily News Cook Book: Seasonable, Inexpensive Bills of Fare for Every Day: https://ebay.us/9E030i
Mrs. Grier's Cookery Book: A Few Hints About Cooking by Sarah A. Grier (1887): https://ebay.us/jIjHFt
PUDDINGS AND PASTRY A LA MODE by Mrs De Salis: https://ebay.us/DBRsMk
Can you tell that I could talk about vintage cookbooks all day long? If you love geeking out over old recipes as much as I do, feel free to poke around my living history project over at The 1800's Housewife. It's a fun work in progress!
Thanks for joining me!