Ten Valuable Vintage Juvenile Delinquency Paperbacks

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Valuable vintage juvenile delinquency paperbacks include such titles as Reform School Girl, Angels in the Gutter, Rumble at the Housing Project, Teen-Age Gangs, The Amboy Dukes, D for Delinquent, Anything for Kicks and Jailbait Street. Some juvenile delin

Vintage paperbacks continue to grow in popularity among collectors. Particularly collectible are old paperbacks with a juvenile delinquency – or JD, as it is called – theme, which tend to employ gritty titles, outrageous cover blurbs and flashy graphics. Here are ten valuable juvenile delinquency paperbacks that are sure to excite collectors. And remember, the better condition the higher the paperback's value.

Reform School Girl by Felice Swados (Diversey, 1948)

Both the title and cover of this highly sought after paperback define its risque allure for collectors. The first title published by Diversey Romance Novels, Reform School Girl (definitely not the kind of girl you take home to mom!) is a true classic in the field, featuring the cover blurb, "A Shameful Past Led Her There – Scarlet Secrets Kept Her There." Originally sold at 35 cents, one example in very fine condition sold at auction for $896.25.

Reform School Girl 1948 Diversey Romance Novel #1 paperback - Heritage Auction Galleries

 Angels in the Gutter by Joseph Hilton (Gold Medal, 1955)

Joseph Hilton's Angels in the Gutter was originally published as Gold Medal paperback #475 in 1955. "They roamed in gangs, these lost girls, women at fifteen – too old at twenty," reads the lurid cover blurb. Initially priced at 25 cents, a first edition paperback in top condition is valued at $15-25.

Angels in the Gutter 1955 Gold Medal paperback #475 - Gold Medal

Anything for Kicks by Morton Cooper (Avon, 1959)

Morton Cooper's Anything for Kicks was published as Avon #T-311 in 1959 and features a cover illustration of a young, busty, heavily lipsticked girl removing her blouse. There's plenty of illegal drugs and juvenile delinquency antics in this read. Cooper also authored the famous High School Confidential. Originally priced at 35 cents, Anything for Kicks – love that title! – carries a value of $15-20 in excellent condition.

After School by Donna Powell (Satan Press, 1966)

Donna Powell's racy After School was published as Satan Press #120 in 1966. On the cover are four scantily-clad females along with the cover blurb, "It was a trip to Never-Never Land. Their parents were out of town, school had closed for vacation, and their surging desires convinced them to really cut loose!" Originally priced at 95 cents, a first edition After School paperback is valued at $45-50 in excellent condition.

Rumble at the Housing Project by Edward De Roo (Ace, 1960)

Edward De Roo's shocking Rumble at the Housing Project was published as Ace #D-417 in 1960 with a tough, leather jacketed hood brandishing a switchblade dominating the cover. "Old Terror in New Buildings," reads the cover blurb. Originally priced at 35 cents, Rumble at the Housing Project can command $75-100 in top condition.

Rumble at the Housing Project 1960 Ace #D-417 - Ace Books

Teen-Age Gangs by Dale Kramer and Madeline Karr (Popular Library, 1954)

This nonfiction entry was published as Popular Library #592 in 1954 and features an introduction by Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, whose senate hearings into organized crime in 1950-51 had enthralled television viewers of the era. "Shocking Story - New York Times," reads the cover blurb at top. Originally priced at 25 cents and showcasing the cover art talents of Rafael DeSoto, Teen-Age Gangs carries a price tag of $15-20 in excellent condition. 

The Amboy Dukes by Irving Shulman (Avon, 1948) 

Irving Shulman's The Amboy Dukes was published as Avon #169 in 1948 and features cover art by Ann Cantor comprised of a zoot suiter and his tough looking gal pal. "A Novel of Wayward Youth in Brooklyn," reads the cover blurb. According to The Paperback Price Guide by Kevin Hancer, three different cover versions were produced for this paperback, including a movie tie-in example. Find this paperback in excellent or better condition and it's worth $40-50.

Jailbait Street by Hal Ellson (Monarch, 1963)

Hal Ellson's Jailbait Street was republished as Monarch #399 in 1963. A young, fetching blonde flanked by two leather jacketed hoods along with the blurb "She Belonged to Every Boy in the Gang" decorates the gaudy cover illustrated by Ray Johnson. Jailbait Street – apparently just down from Dope Avenue and Switchblade Boulevard – is valued at $20-25 in excellent condition.

D for Delinquent by Bud Clifton (Ace, 1958)

Bud Clifton's iconic D for Delinquent was published as Ace #D-270 in 1958. A flirtatious blonde in tight sweater is pictured on the cover along with one of her menacing boy toy hoods. "She was strictly for the boys!" reads the cover blurb. This classic JD paperback is valued at $75-100 in top condition. The original unsigned cover art sold in 2011 at Heritage Auction Galleries for $7,170. In addition to D for Delinquent, this particular cover art also graces the British paperback version of The Big Rumble by Edward De Roo (Digit Books #R360, 1960).

D for Delinquent 1958 Ace #D-270 - Heritage Auction Galleries

All Shook Up by Peyson Antholz (Ace, 1958)

Peyson Antholz's All Shook Up was published as Ace #D-306 in 1958. A tough, cigarette-smoking blonde adorns the cover as two young punks at a pool hall – apparently "all shook up" by the girl's presence – admire the goods. "Delinquents out for kicks," reads the cover blurb. An All Shook Up paperback in excellent condition or better is worth $50-75.

All Shook Up 1958 Ace #D-306 paperback - BookEndsUsedBooks.com

There are thousands of other vintage juvenile delinquency paperbacks from the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s which are of interest to collectors. Good hunting at garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets, book dealers and other venues...  

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  • Teen-Age Gangs by Dale Kramer and Madeline Karr 1954 Popular Library #592 $15-20 - Popular Library

Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved. 

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