As most of you know, I enjoy books, not in any creepy or immoral way, naturally, but I do enjoy real books. The smell, the feel and the look of them on my shelf. A couple of years ago I decided to start trying to build a small collection of first editions. I have always been interested in Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure stories and decided that I would see if I could start acquiring some of these. I now have a very small collection of first editions, built around Enid Blyton books, along with a few other random books that I have picked up here and there.
I thought that I would like to feature one book from my meagre collection each week and include some pictures and some brief information about where I acquired it and any relevant information about it. Hopefully this will interest some people and if anyone has any ideas about further information that they would like to see included please let me know in the comments. I will call this series of posts ‘Collection Book of the Week’, I think. The order will be totally at random.
Since I make no claims of being in any way an expert, if anyone notices any false or incorrect information please let me know. Sometimes identifying true first editions can be very tricky and most of my information has come from internet searches and from talking to dealers at book fairs. Obviously I would prefer it that you told me something I thought was only worth a few pounds was actually worth thousands, rather than the more likely reverse situation, but either way I would like to know.
So unsurprisingly we will start with an Enid Blyton book, one of the Famous Five series. The book is ‘Five go to Mystery Moor’ and was one of my earliest purchases. It is the thirteenth book in the original series of twenty one books. Here are a few photographs, sorry about the quality, I am most certainly not a photographer.
So this book was published in 1954 by Hodder & Stoughton. It is in reasonable condition, and was available for a very reasonable price, being one of the later books in the series and thus less rare than the earlier ones. This book basically started my collection and was purchased at a small (eighteen dealers) Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA) book fair held at Hylands house in Chelmsford. This was purchased in late 2011 and only cost £35.
Many factors affect the price of first editions, but condition is one of the most important. One important point to remember is that without the dust jacket most of these books would be considered pretty much worthless. It is generally recognised that having a dust jacket (wrapper) is responsible for in excess of 80% of the value of the book. Anyway, this one has one, and while not in perfect condition, is far from terrible. Many of the first editions I have seen have had large chunks of the dust jacket missing and are really just separate pieces held together by a protective plastic cover.
So there is the first book featured in the ‘Collection Book of the Week’ series. I would be interested to hear any comments that you have regarding anything related to the format and content of this post or the book itself. I will be back with another exciting book for you next week.