Friday, October 10, 2008

Big Golden Book - First Printing Standard Edition

The Big Golden Book for Alice in Wonderland was in print for a bazillion years, 30 years at least since earliest printings are from 1951 and I have a 35th printing from 1980. With all those printings over all those years, it can be very difficult to figure out which printing you have, since the earlier printings don't actually say 'first printing', and all have a 1951 copyright date.

So how do you tell? Follow along with me, it is pretty simple. Pictured above is a first print standard edition (there are 4 editions of the Big Golden Book for Alice, although 2 are variations of the other 2). There is an easy way to tell if you have an early printing just at a glance. The first TWO printings have gold highlights on the cover, making it instantly obvious that you have an early printing.

Secondly, the interior pages on early printings have this funky floral border. Also, the stock number (located at the top of the spine) for the first 7 printings was 3 digits (426), and afterwards it was 5 digits (10426). Additionally, the imprint for the early printings is Simon and Schuster, whereas for printings as early as 7th (G) the imprint changes to Golden Press. Early printings also have fully illustrated endpapers, in fact the same art used as the backdrop for the Whitman Stand-Up Figures set (stay tuned for a future post) whereas later printings have plain white endpapers.

And finally, although only useful if you have several various printings side by side, the earlier printings are taller, a fact that remains true throughout the print run: the taller the book, the earlier the printing.

But, the only sure fire way to determine if you have a first printing or not is to look in the lower left hand corner of the inside front cover, and you'll see printed just to the left of the baby oysters the text A100100. The 'A' is the printing (A = first, B = second, etc), and the 100100 is the price in cents twice ($1). The last printing to use the code was the thirteenth printing (M). Beginning with the fourteenth printing, the print information was located at the bottom of the title page and lists printing number and year - e.g. Fourteenth Printing 1968.

4 comments:

Nick Tierce said...

Matt, love the blog. I don't see a way I can contact you on your profile...I have a question about an Alice item I remember from years ago, and I'd also like to share some pictures of my own meager Alice collection. All the Best,
-Nick

Centaurette said...

This is one of the truly great Big Golden Books! As a great fan of the Retra Scott Worcester Cinderella BGB, which also has the golden overlay to the cover (as well as on the interior pages) in its earliest editions), I can vouch for just how enchanting this version must look in person--just another way for a wonderful collectible to call out "Buy Me!"

The gilt overlay was actually accomplished as an individual India ink illustration on either board or vellum, and printed (or probably screened) on top of each printed copy of the regular art as it was painted (and would later appear in the non-gilded versions).

Incidentally, the very first Cinderella had a honeycomb tissue pumpkin in it's front end papers; too bad they did not follow suit with Alice. They might have done a honeycomb heart for the Queen (a simple, in-stock Valentine shape) or better yet, a green honeycomb "rose bush" studded with white AND red mini roses'

Matt said...

I had a copy of that Cinderella BGB with the pumpkin, wish now that I had not sold it (for way too cheap)

Vida Wells said...

I actually have a copy of the first print edition that i bought at the library today for 50 cent. But the spine is missing after the D in wonderland and the clear over lay on the cover is loose on the left. other than that it is in great condition.

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