This week’s riveting installment of my ‘Collection Book of the Week’ series will have to be quick as I am rather pushed for time, so I apologise for any errors, or any of those lapses into boringness that we all know I am capable of. Still, I know that there will be many frustrated and disappointed readers out there if I fail to post this week, so here we go. This week sees the featuring of a book from yet another series of Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure stories. Thus far we have seen examples of books belonging to ‘The Famous Five’, ‘The Adventure Series’ and ‘The Mystery Series’. There remains one other major series of Enid Blyton’s children’s adventures that I collect, ‘The Secret Seven’.
This week’s book of choice is ‘Go Ahead Secret Seven’, the fifth book in the original series of fifteen stories. In addition to these fifteen books, Enid Blyton wrote two books featuring Peter and Janet, the founders of the Secret Seven. ‘At Seaside Cottage’ was set prior to the formation of the Secret Seven, which was formed in ‘The Secret of the Old Mill’. There were, I believe, a number of other stories written in French, by Evelyne Lallemand, many years later. I do not consider them related in any way to the original series, and so that is all the information regarding them that you will get from me.
Now for the usual boring facts about my copy. I purchased this book from a book fair held at British Motorcycle museum in Birmingham in 2012. It is a first edition, published by the Brockhampton Press in 1953 and originally sold for 6s. The book itself is in pretty good condition and is very solid. The dust cover is also in good condition, with some very minor wear on the corners and spine. As is usual with the Enid Blyton books of this era, there are some really nice illustrations, both as part of the dust cover and internally. The illustrator for this book was Bruno Kay.
So, if you are still awake, prepare for extreme disappointment. There will be no ‘Collection Book of the Week’ post next week. I repeat, NO post next week. Do not despair however, stop whining, stop wringing your hands in misery, stop wailing in grief. Everything will be alright. I have a different type of post lined up for your enjoyment. It is intended for the 11th August, and that is all I can reveal at the moment.
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.