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Top 20 Misidentified First Editions

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First Editions Imprints Publishers References Reprints
Introduction Top 10 [1-10] Top 20 [11-20] Children's Books

 

 

Number 1:  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland  [Lewis Carroll - Macmillan & Co - 1866]:

The first American edition was published in NY in 1866 by D. Appleton & Co.  However, the British edition preceded the American edition by six months.  The British edition was originally issued in red cloth binding with gilt lettering, powder blue endpages and all page edges in gilt.  The center of the front board features a cameo image of Alice inside a double circle, the outside edge of the front board has triple-lined box border in gilt.  Although the first edition included 42 illustrations by John Tenniel, these were also included in later reprints and are not a valid indicator of a 1st edition.

 

For more extensive information, collectors may wish to refer to the following bibliographies:

Stoffel, Stephanie Lovett: Lewis Carroll in Wonderland: The Life and Times of Alice and Her Creator, Boston, MA: Harry N, Abrams Inc, 1997.

 

Stoffel, Stephanie Lovett: The Art of Alice in Wonderland, NY: Smithmark Pub, 1998.

 

Number 2:  The Tales of Peter Rabbit  [Beatrix Potter - Strangeways - 1902]:

The first edition (in book form) was published by

The front board of the first edition features a line drawn image of four rabbits [Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter].

 

For more extensive information, collectors may wish to refer to the following bibliography:

Quinby, Jane: Beatrix Potter : A Bibliographical Checklist [3rd Ed.]. Stroud: Ian Hodgkins & Co, [1999].

 

Number 3:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  [L. Frank Baum - George M. Hill Co. - 1900]:

Contrary to common perception, the first US edition of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (in book form) was published by George M. Hill Co., not Reilly & Britton.  The first edition was issued in light green cloth stamped in red and green with a picture of a lion with red mane and glasses against a green background.

 

For the first state the illustration facing page 92 has red shading on the horizon while the second state lacks the red shading.  The second state will have the publisher's advertisment on page 2 boxed.

 

For more extensive information, collectors may wish to refer to the following bibliography:

Hanff, Peter E. & Douglas G. Greene BIBLIOGRAPHIA OZIANA, A CONCISE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL CHECKLIST OF THE OZ BOOKS BY L. FRANK BAUM AND HIS SUCCESSORS, San Francisco International Wizard of Oz Club, 2002.

 

Number 4:  Bambi  [Felix Salten - Bobbs Merrill - 1908]:

The first edition (in book form) was published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1908. 

 

Number 5:  Huckleberry Finn  [Mark Twain - Charles L Webster & Co - 1885]:

The first edition was issued by Charles L. Webster & Co., rather than the American Book Publishing Co. as is often assumed.

 

Number 6:  Tom Swift and His Motorcycle [Victor Appleton - Grosset & Dunlap - 1910]:

Due to its overwhelming success, the original books in the Tom Swift series were in continuous print for 25 years [from 1910 until 1935].  Not unexpectedly, people are quick to assume they have a first edition when they view the copyright date -- which, quite to the contrary, remained unchanged on all reprints of the 1920s & 30s.  Similarly, the list of Tom Swift books opposite the title page were left unchanged for all reprints.  Other than changes to the spine emblem, the ubiquitous quadrant style cover design remained relatively unchanged for later reprints as well. 

 

As had been done with earlier series such as The Rover Boys, Grosset & Dunlap issued the first five titles of the Tom Swift series concurrently in 1910 -- what has become commonly referred to as a "breeder set" among collectors.  These 1910 issues had an uncoated dustjacket on beige paper [which quickly turned brown].  These dustjackets are easily distinguishable by the red lettering and artwork [matching the book cover design].  These are commonly called Format 1A dustjackets by experienced collectors. In 1911, this dustjacket was changed.  The 1911 dustjackets include the first 10 volumes of the Tom Swift series, reprints of the 1910 titles plus 5 new titles issued in 1911.  These Format 1B dustjackets are easily distinguishable by the addition of green ink.  Thus, the 1911 Format 1B dustjackets have red and green artwork on the front panel versus the red only of the 1910 Format 1A dustjackets.

 

From 1912 through 1917, the dustjackets were again changed.  These Format 1C dustjackets were printed on coated paper and have a much lighter off white color printed with red and green line art.  These Format 1C dustjackets are found on first printings of volumes 11 through 20, and reprints of volumes 1 through 10.

 

In addition to reviewing the dustjacket styles above, collectors should also carefully inspect the titles printed on the dustjackets, as well as at the rear of the books.  Later printings will always list additional titles.  For example, a 1915 printing of "Tom Swift in Captivity" [1912] will list "Tom Swift and His Aerial Warship" [1915] while a 1913 printing will only list to "Tom Swift and His Giant Cannon" [1913].

 

The most commonly misidentified first editions in the Tom Swift series are the later duotone and full color dustjackets.  The duotone Format 2A dustjackets were issued between 1918 and 1923.  The full color Format 1B dustjackets were issued between 1924 and 1935.  Tom Swift books lacking the dustjackets are commonly misidentified as earlier printings.  However, carefully cross-referencing the copyright dates of all titles listed in the rear advertisements at end of the book text can usually give a close approximation of the printing year.

 

Tom Swift Dustjacket Formats

Quad - Format 1B [1911]

Brown Quadrant - Format 1A [1910 Only]

Quad - Format 1C [1912-17]

Duotone - Format 2A [1918 - 1923]

Full Color - Format 2B [1924-35]

 

Please check Bibliomaven's Blog for additional pictures of the Tom Swift Quad Dustjacket Formats.

 

Below is a table summarizing the above format information:

 

Format Dustjacket Style

Years

First Printings Of:

Format 1A

Format 1B

Format 1C

Format 2A

Format 2B

Brown Quad [Red Ltrng]

Brown Quad [Red & Green]

White Quad

Duotone

Full Color

1910

1911

1912 - 1917

1918 - 1923

1924 - 1935

Vol. 1 to 5

Vol. 6 to 10

Vol. 11 to 20

Vol. 21 to 26

Vol. 27 to 38

 

 

Number 7:  The Hardy Boys:  The Tower Treasure [Franklin W. Dixon - Grosset & Dunlap - 1927]:

As with the Tom Swift series, Grosset & Dunlap issued the first three titles of the new Hardy Boys series in 1927 -- that is, "The Tower Treasure", "The House on the Cliff" and "The Secret of the Old Mill".  The early Hardy Boys issues printed prior to 1933 are easily distinguishable by their telltale red cloth binding.  Books printed on and after 1933 were issued in a light brown cloth binding.

 

White Spine DJ [1927-1932]

Format 1 Red Binding [1927-1932]

Yellow Spine DJ [1927-1932]

 

 

 

Number 8:  Nancy Drew:  The Secret of the Old Clock [Carolyn Keene - Grosset & Dunlap - 1930]:

As with the Hardy Boys series, Grosset & Dunlap issued the first three titles of the new Nancy Drew series in 1930 -- that is, "The Secret of the Old Clock", "The Hidden Staircase" and "The Bungalow Mystery".  The early Nancy Drew issues printed prior to 1933 require a bit closer inspection to distinguish versus the easy to see red cloth binding of the pre-1933 Hardy Boys printings. 

 

With the pre-1933 Nancy Drew printings, collectors should check for three main points: 

(1) no silhouette of Nancy on the book spine;

(2) Gold Title Lettering outlined in black on front board;

(3) blank white endpages. 

(4) Four glossy illustrations (1930-36)

 

Binding

Vols.

Spine

Vols.

Endpages

Vols.

Illustr.

Vols.

Blue No Sil

1-7

White

1-22

White

1-7

Frontis+3

1-13

Blue Orng Sil

1-23

White Silh.

1-18

Orng Silhouette

1-24

Frontis

1-17

Blue Blue Sil

1-23

Wrap

23-38

Blue Silhouette

1-30

Plan Front.

 

Blue Rev Sil

1-28

 

1-9,11-12

Digger

1-36

   
Tweed Blue Sil

1-38

Profile

27-38

Blue Multi

1-38

   
Yellow

1-34

   

White Multi

1-56

   
Yellow PC

1-56

           

 

 

 

Number 9:   The Rover Boys [Arthur W. Winfield - Mershon - 1899]:

A

 

Number 10:    The Motor Boys [Clarence Young - Cupples & Leon - 1906]:

A

 

Number 11:    The Adventures of Reddy Fox [Thornton Burgess - Little, Brown - 1913]:

"The Adventures of Reddy Fox" was the first book issued in Thorton Burgess' popular Bedtime Story Books series.  This book was first issued by Little, Brown & Co. in 1913, and reissued in 1922 and 1924.  The book was issued in gray cloth with black lettering and scarlet illustrations to the spine and the upper panel.

 

The most commonly misidentified editions are the Grosset & Dunlap reprints of the Bedtime Story Books series.  

 

For more extensive information, collectors may wish to refer to the following bibliography:

Wright, Wayne:  THORNTON BURGESS:  A Descriptive Book Bibliography [Rev. Ed.], Sandwich, MA, Thornton Burgess Society, 2000.

 

 

Number 12:    Uncle Wiggily [Howard Garis - Cupples & Leon - 1906]:

A

 

 

Number 13:    Ruth Fielding of the Red Mill [Alice Emerson - Cupples & Leon - 1913]:

A

 

 

 

Stop the First Edition Madness
Are you an experienced collector or bibliographer that is frustrated and fed up with the plethora of first edition errors that abound in online auctions and even popular book search engines.  Can you stand the pain no longer.  Are you tired of emailing sellers with well-intentioned corrections, detailed attributions or bibliographical citations that go unheeded, ignored or even challenged.  Do you just want people to get it right once and for all.  Do you realize the irony that many collectors are being confused and sellers are unwittingly perpetuating these mistakes to the point of making them practically urban legends.  

 

 

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Last Revision June 08, 2010 10:42 PM