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Thanks to the stimulus I finally got 5 of the 6 remaining Series 1 books I need heading my way! I did not grab Gulliver yet, but I have these coming:
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving/Frederic Goudy
Undine by Friedrich de La Motte-Fouque/Allen Lewis
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe/Edward A. Wilson
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe/Rene Clarke
The Travels of Baron Munchausen by Rudolphe Raspe/John Held
Condition varies a bit on these, but I am hopeful that all will arrive in very good condition.
1. Gargantua and Pantagruel, Near Fine condition. Getting it for much, much less than the Folio Society LE costs only adds to my pleasure. I'm really looking forward to reading it.
2. The Book of The Thousand and One Nights, also Near Fine but lacking its slipcases. Not a huge factor for me as I enjoy making cases. Besides being in outstanding condition, it came with the unexpected revelation that it was once owned by a minor celebrity from my hometown of Chicago. The revelation aspect was the cool part, as it came in the form of a telegram tucked inside a volume. I love surprises like that :)
I think you will enjoy the Rabelais: the translation by LeClercq is the best in that it really finds an English equivalent for Rabelais' double entendres and puns.
If you like good deals on Rabelais, may I also suggest this edition?
200 copies, 3 large volumes on great paper. All the extant works including Gargantua and Pantagruel. With the caveat that not everyone finds Alexander King to their taste. Perfect for Rabelais though.
Interesting thing about the above edition is that apparently the publisher also released 1,300 more copies of this, same binding (different color spine), same text and typography, but with a different illustrator and published in the same year...I don't think I've ever heard of a publisher doing that before. I'm basing this on listings. Haven't seen a copy of the other "edition" in person.
I have my first Series 1 coming my way - The Decameron! Some checking revealed that, other than the Shakespeare series, this was the only series I didn't have a single title from through Series 49.
Heart of Darkness (1969)
Also picked up a copy of the Heritage Press Romeo and Juliet (1937), which is a great little book.
Heart of darkness only arrived today, so I'll have to wait until I've read it to give a full assessment. However, first impressions are good. I like the illustrations (particularly the double page spreads) and the paper seems nice. Probably not up to the level of the Chester River Press version, but definitely still a high quality edition and sufficient for me!
I read this site religiously, but seldom post, as I feel like the country mouse.
There was a Quarto-Millenary I had been eyeing on Abe for quite a while. It was an ex-library book in "good" condition going for $20. After I placed my order, I was asked to approve an extra $2 over the $5 postage (Don't they KNOW this in advance? Why do they say, "MAY require extra postage"?)
The book arrived in a bubble-wrapped envelope that had been punctured, resulting in an inch-long gouge on the back board. Additionally, there were huge coffee stains on several pages (not my idea of "good" condition).
Fortunately, the seller gave a complete refund because of the damage and let me keep the book. So while the coffee stains make me wince, I DO now have a copy of this wonderful resource.
Three of my books arrived today! The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is in excellent shape; just some slight sunning to the spine and the slipcase is darkened, but internally it's near perfect and the boards are still nice and shiny. Definitely got a bargain on this one. Rip Van Winkle is in pretty amazing condition considering most of the spines I've seen for copies were demolished; this one has a bit of a scratch on it but otherwise is sound and intact. Interior is good, too. No slipcase, but I took a gamble on it and came away aces. My 1st series Baron Munchausen was the biggest risk I took as it was noticeably cheaper than other copies, and...it's not in the best of shape. It has a ton of flaking to the spine leather, a fair amount of foxing and the boards are dulled. It's lacking a slipcase, too. But, for now, it will suffice and I can always replace it down the road.
Ken, if I may throw in my 2 cents worth, I am a huge fan of the 1969 Heart of Darkness (and abhor the later version with Sean Scully's textile designs). The binding design has just the right sense of eeriness. Richard Ellis's overall design is faultless, the Monotype letterpress is exquisite, and the paper is very, very good though not up to the luxurious standards of the top Limited Editions Club papers.
Special notice must be given to Robert Shore's illustrations: I find them wonderful, and a wonderful concept on the illustrator's part: he used sheets of plywood with very strongly-figured grain patterns, and then used semi-transparent paint, which let the grain show through the color. Thus the grain creates ripples in the water, the actual deck planking on the riverboat, cloud striations, heat waves, and the silk moiré of a dress. Some may say it's a gimmick, but when it works so effectively, how is it less a gimmick than van Gogh's blobs of paint creating a three dimensional effect?
I don't have the ML for the LEC so I am unable to provide more specifics than what appear in the colophon, but I still have my New York HP from when I was in the Heritage Club and it is also very desirable--I swear, if it were published today by the Arion Press as an exact duplicate, it would be considered a triumph for that institution (and would probably cost $500).
Tracking shows that my Journals and Other Documents on the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus has just landed in my hometown. Probably one more week (our postal system is terrible) and I will be holding it in my hands. My first LEC book!
I'm exer...cising ... self-......con......trol.......
Speaking of replacing: how does one go about selling? How do you make it worth the effort?
Wildcat, enjoy your new acquisitions. I've read with envy your treasures unearthed in bookstores. I only became acquainted with "old books" during the pandemic. I'm in Northern California, and I hope to browse in a store or two once things open up (I don't know any locations yet!).
I hope you'll describe what it's like receiving your first LEC.
And then there are auctions. I just got two very nice LECs for $29.95 (the starting bid) where I was the only bidder. Because it is easy to see what other copies are on offer at a given time with the search engine, you can get a good idea of going prices.
Robinson Crusoe has some severe sunning and a bit of staining to the spine, but otherwise it's marvelous. And to be honest, given the binding style for this book, which reminds me of a nautical journal, it sort of works, haha. It's a shame Grabhorn had such a fallout with Macy following this, as it's a very nice edition! No slipcase on this one, but it was a good price.
I'll hope that the other two random LECs I ordered turn out well too!
Jerry, although I like a lot of things about the Defoe book, some things bother me, as I'm sure they bothered Macy:
1) Grabhorn cut up the elaborate title art Wilson did because he thought it was too busy. Macy later used it as Wilson created it for the HP, and I think it works just fine. (Wilson was apparently VERY upset, not only because Grabhorn never consulted him about modifying it, but because the way in which he removed the top part was very clumsy.
2) The Colt Armory press as set up for this book had such a deep bite that the indentation shows through on the reverse of the page. I know many here are very fond of that style of letterpress, and I do prefer a bite impression to a kiss impression, but when it can be felt and seen on the other side--well, save that kind of impression for books in Braille. (Incidentally, when I worked in a print shop in college, the Heidelberg Windmill press thy had made several study texts in Braille for our sight-impaired students.)
3) The paper chosen has so pronounced a texture that the reproduction of the illustrations exhibits a marked "saltiness," which again may be appropriate for a journal by a mariner, but I prefer the smooth areas of color in the HP versions.
All in all, I still think the book is a beautiful book, probably the most beautiful in Series One, but I don't think two strong-willed, opinionated people such as Macy and Grabhorn could have ever worked together--financial considerations aside.
It's wild to have 11 of the 12 books in Series 1. This is the closest I've ever been to a full series! Kind of blows my mind haha.
Indeed I just paid slightly more than that for it NF! Should probably have exercised patience, but that’s one competitor out of the way when your 100 USD Mint copy turns up!
Other recent acquisitions:
- The Golden Cockerel (thanks in no small part to a post of Don’s on this forum)
- The Frogs - also quite lovely
- the earlier (BR) Shakespeare’s Poems, second attempt to get one without foxing...
- Tartuffe (1930)
- Suetonius, sadly Like New except - a big exception - two fully broken hinges. Full refund, but it’ll cost me more to fix. Only such issue with an OB/SV Mardersteig book so far at least.
- Nostromo, annoyingly somewhat damaged en route
And The bridge of San Luis Rey on the way.
I’ve been unlucky in picking up a couple of LECs with foxing, particularly Shakespeare’s Poems (twice now) and Tartuffe. Whether foxing spreads feels like a question of fact rather than opinion, but I struggle to read my way to a fact-based view. I value your judgements - do you shelve separately, encase/entomb, destroy by fire or treat like normal books with mild foxing?
Struggling to find a nice 3-vol Brothers Karamazov at any price and a number of wishlist LECs at reasonable prices. Looking forward to spending a decade searching.
>29 GusLogan: You've been busy!
- The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (LEC)—this would probably be considered a more run-of-the-mill LEC but even those are just so much nicer than anything you can get nowadays without spending hundreds of dollars. It was my first time reading it (or anything by Henry James) and I loved it. James invests the common intercourse of everyday living with all the tension of a hostage negotiation. It was a wild ride.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Heritage)—again, I know this one is pretty divisive with the shiny plasticky orange binding but I loved it as well and thought it was very appropriate to the story. Again, somehow I'd never made it around to reading this and it was a great read although depressingly prophetic.
- The Wall by John Hersey (LEC)—I love the production and illustrations. I haven't read it yet but it looks fascinating albeit very grim.
- A Lost Lady by Willa Cather (LEC)—another beautiful little production and a really beautiful and nostalgic story.
I also picked up some books last year that I didn't add to the 2020 thread:
- The Odyssey of Homer (the Enschede press one)—it's too beautiful and I'm too nervous to read it. It also has uncut pages and I'm too nervous to cut them.
- Zulieka Dobson by Max Beerbohm (LEC)—I love the design which seems to fit the book so well, and what a strange little book it is.
- Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (LEC)—lovely design, haven't read it yet
- I Promessi Spossi by Alessandro Manzoni (LEC)—beautiful in every way. The story is amazing, the design is impeccable.
- The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper (LEC)—I love the illustrations in this and the story is great
- The Decameron by Bocaccio (LEC)—another stunning book with amazing paper and the stories were pretty wild. Apart from all the sex, it has death, and beatings and accidental cannibalism—I'm surprised there's not more interest in the classics these days.
- Salammbo by Flaubert (LEC)—this also has an incredible amount of violence and death and sacrifice and sex—again, why are more people not reading these?
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (LEC)—the grandaddy of mystery novels doesn't disappoint
- The Diary of a Country Priest (LEC)—a beautiful book with some of the nicest paper I've ever touched. The story was brutal and I'm still deciding what I thought about it.
- The Diary of Benvenuto Cellini (LEC)—another stunner and holy cow, Cellini is hilarious. He will freaking kill you if you steal his saddle or his girl and he casts a pretty darn good Perseus and is not at all shy about letting you know it.
* The Lyrics of Villon is practically like new. The book still had the glassine and the interior, outside of the prints bleeding onto the opposite page, is perfect. The slipcase is a little banged up but I couldn't be happier about getting a book from 1933 in this condition.
* My 2nd series of Evergreen Tales was truly the bargain, though. While the spines are sunned and the slipcase is split, the interiors of the three books are excellent as are the boards.
Both run me $20 each, so I can't complain one bit!
And yes, that is definitely how I would describe the Villon. Pretty much each illustration is transposed on the other page.
Still on my wish list is the Count of Montecristo....
Count of Monte Cristo is very difficult to find in decent condition for less than stratospheric pricing.
- The Flounder (1985)
- The Adventures of Simplicissimus (1981)
- The Dead Sea Scrolls (1966)
- The Masque of Comus (1954)
Shiff sure did like to make large form factor books.
The Flounder is probably the strangest of these. The quality and thoughtfulness of almost all the elements are remarkable, especially for the price it seems to go for now. Excellent presswork, one of my favorite bindings (quarter eel skin that feels supple and, perhaps surprisingly, durable), excellent paper (with a very faint blue green hue that evokes water), three volumes (I prefer long novels to be broken into multiple volumes generally), signed and illustrated by a winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, and the art actually functions well both as book illustration and fine art (unlike some of the livres d'artiste Shiff produced). Despite all that acclamation, Ben Shiff did make some questionable choices in the design. The shape of the books is horizontal, more landscape than portrait, though not quite as wide as full landscape. I think this choice is supposed to evoke roughly the pancake shape of a flounder, but the primary practical effect is absolutely huge outside margins which seem ostentatious for all pages that lack illustration. Additionally, while the presswork is flawless, paragraphs lack both indentation and noticeable leading, which to my eye is a design mistake.
Comus hasn't actually arrived yet, so perhaps I am jumping the gun, but hopefully it arrives soon and as described.
The 1933 Brothers Karamazov actually would have been on my list of 2021 acquisitions as well, but the USPS lost the package! The shipment was tracked and the seller was professional, so no loss on my part. It was insured, so presumably no loss on the seller's part either, but the copy was in good condition given the age; for the state of LEC books in the world I hope someone finds it at some point and treats the set well.
If you get no other early Shiff production, you must have The Secret Sharer (1985). It’s just about perfect, in all respects, and can often be found in Fine condition for under $100.
The Flounder is really odd: not only the story, and not only the LEC design, but the fact that the signature of the artist/author/Nobel Prize Winner is usually found for such low prices. One would think it should sell close to the 4-figure range. I like it very much, but I have always been a big fan of Grass.
I think you will find the 1932 edition the preferred version. The illustrations are a tossup as both are wonderful, but I prefer the 2 volume treatment of the 1932 version to the later edition, and have always had an (unreasonable) aversion to double column text layout.
The reproduction of the Sylvain Sauvage watercolours in Sylvestre Bonnard is very finely done. I could almost believe that the artist had hand-painted each copy.
My copy of Daphnis and Chloe includes a letter from George Macy to the original purchaser of the book, dated 12th September 1934, extolling the virtues of the LEC edition of The Arabian Nights:
"This is the most important publishing venture of our career." "… an edition of The Arabian Nights which is (this is a fact) the biggest book bargain of the century, and (this is pure opinion) one of the loveliest books we have issued."
The LEC Arabian Night is a very interesting story and there were 3 Monthly Letters connected with its issue. What was, at the time, "the most important publishing venture of our career was, in fact, an act of desperation due to the fact that Frank Hill had not finished his Modern English translation of the Canterbury Tales which was to be the 11th book in that Series and T.M. Cleland had not finished illustrating Tristram Shandy on schedule. Since Club members had been promised these books in the Prospectus and had paid in advance for them, Macy had to use all of his salesmanship to avoid the potential loss of membership.
Edited to correct my computer's Auto-correct....
You use the word "steal" advisedly, Ken. You'd be lucky to get an Acceptable copy of this today for that price whilfe a NF or Fine copy could set you back $500--$1000.
Can you believe there were apparently several Club members who either refused the substitution or sent back their copies?
My pleasure. A scan of the letter here:
What are the bindings like on your set? Over the years I've seldom see a set where the bindings weren't either browned or where he leather was deteriorating.
This one’s Fine and knows it - look at that price...
But even there, look closely at the first volume - isn’t that a split in the leather at the top/crown?
One sold in Germany not long ago for about 30-40 USD as I recall, but the leather was badly and unevenly browned and several hinges busted.
The price is Very Fine (for the seller), but if I were selling that set, I would describe it as Near Fine. In addition to what does look like a split, the bindings have uneven browning and the slipcase seems to show evidence of waterstains.
Great--you were very lucky to get it for that price--even without slipcases
Of course I would like to look at them. The thornier question is: how will I sneak six crates of hardbacks into the house?
The split on the spine alone would, IMHO, knock it down to Very Good, especially if the slipcase is waterstained and the spines are unevenly aged. I know -- some of you don't care about the slipcase and that would not be a problem for you, but in describing it to the world at large, that needs to be considered and the description down-graded a bit. The uneven aging on the spine is cosmetic, to be sure, but to many collectors, a severe flaw. The split/tear at the spine, however, is a serious flaw for a collector, so the grade needs to reflect that. The potential buyer can decide whether or not it matters, but the seller should err on the down side in describing a book's condition.
I speak both as a former mail order bookseller of twenty years and as a collector.
I have always described any book I sold as completely as possible and used a grade (Poor, Good, Very Good, etc.) as a summary indicator. Grades such as VG+ and NF to me are waffle grades. It is either VG or it is Fine; the description should tell the tale. Even with photos, a full written description is desired. So many would-be booksellers today are too cavalier. Makes me crazy.
Ultimately, as a purchaser, only you can decide what flaws are acceptable to you. The seller needs to as fully inform you as possible. Clear photos, if possible, can be included as part of the description, but written description should go beyond the photos. Of course, the more valuable a book, the more detailed the description. A $10.00 book does not warrant the sort of detailed description a $1000 book would, but still, it should tell you all you need to know about that book before buying it.
Sorry for the digression.
I return you now to the regularly scheduled discussion.
(Always a delight to learn from you all, I don’t want to suggest I didn’t just adjust my VG/NF/F boundaries...)
Your point about the split being a flaw that would downgrade the rating to Very Good is well-taken; however, in seeing the overall condition and comparing it to other sets of this work I've seen, I would have to say it's closer to the best I've seen rated Fine than to ones rated Very Good, so I tend to grade on the curve (hey--I used to be an English teacher, after all!).
But Ken's point I think is one that needs to be considered when buying for one's own personal use and enjoyment without taking into account some potential resale or investment value--which I never do. A single, or even a double rating--one for book and one for slipcase--can't hope to do justice to describing a book to the buyer for pleasure as opposed to the collector. I have seen--and purchased--several books which had sunned spines or stained or scuffed covers but the internal contents were Like New and unread. I purchased new a copy of Rex Stout's Fer-de-lance from the First Edition Library several years ago as all I had was a shoddy, 50 year old trade edition with the brown wood pulp paper breaking off when I turned the page. When I finally got around to taking it from the publisher's shrinkwrap recently and re-reading it, I was totally surprised by the ending: the last signature was missing and the next to the last signature duplicated! And now I don't remember how Wolfe solve the mystery of the deadly golf club and who substituted it!
Nothing beats a full, honest description of a book for sale, warts described as well as beauties--but you have to keep in mind most sellers are not book readers and aficionados, but people whose concerns are of a more commercial nature; and I would bet many of them would have, quite correctly, described my Nero Wolfe book "As New" and priced it accordingly, never having opened it.
And assuming there are some duplicates you may only have to figure out how to sneak three or four crates into the house.
A word of advice: make sure the books you are interested in show a New York address on the title page, and unless you're desperate for it a particular title, eschew any that have a Connecticut address; that may also cut down on the number of crates.
>65 Django6924: Thanks for the tip. Down to 2-3 crates. I could secrete them in my trunk, bringing the occasional selection into the home.
I should have plenty to keep me reading for the rest of my days.
Our library system is reopening at the end of this month. I could have cried when I read the announcement. Library visits were a huge hole gouged away from normalcy.
It is important to compare apples to apples, i.e., compare the copy of the book you are interested in purchasing to other copies of the same LEC book, both past (offered previously for sale) and present (currently available for purchase).
Some LEC books are notorious for always appearing with flaws, e.g., Moby Dick (2 volumes), the Analects of Confucius (1933) in the special Chinese redwood box, Kwaidan, Hiroshima, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, etc. I do not expect to see these books ever appear for sale in fine condition. Consequently, I am more forgiving with regard to condition with these titles. Conversely, other LEC editions are readily available in fine condition and for these titles I will insist upon a copy in same fine condition.
More important than assigning a subjective grade, e.g., fine, near-fine, VG+, etc., which many booksellers do, I've found it is far more important to ask specific questions, obtain a detailed description of any flaws, and have this followed with high quality photographs that I request. For inexpensive LEC titles this may be going overboard; however, for expensive LEC or other private press books, this is essential and far more useful than an arbitrary grade the seller assigns.
Exactly, which is why I consider the G/VG/F, etc, grade a summary. Nothing beats a full complete description. When listing a book for sale, I always assumed that the interested buyer would be a picky collector and described it accordingly, listing all faults, even on the less valuable items in my stock. Took time, but it paid off. The only return I ever had was due to circumstances beyond my control.
I have a dozen cheap Folio Society books, a couple of Heritage Press books and find them all fine but the LEC is another league. There's a lot of illustrations in the book by Lima de Freitas (65 b&w and 5 hand-coloured double-page ones) which perfectly reflect the atmosphere of Columbus' times. The binding is tight and firm. My only dissapointment is some yellow spots throughout some of the pages. There aren't many of them but still...
Just ordered my second one - Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar. I bought it for only 40$ and it is described by the seller as VG. I received some photos of the book and it looks OK. It even has a dustjacket so I guess the spine will not be sunned. The slipcase has some wear but it doesn't bother me. The possibility of owning an Officina Bodoni book (though a very modest one) designed by maestro Mardersteig is thrilling.
As far as my collection goes- my acquisition count has gotten a bit out of hand so I’m going to need to put on the brakes. Based on my reading speed- I’ve got 10 years of catch-up to do to get through my existing collection, so I’m limiting myself to 1 addition per month and have a friend holding me accountable. If this sounds like an addiction, well, here’s my latest addition which speaks to it:
I would consider The Gallic Wars a very underrated Limited Editions Club book. I have the Heritage edition which I got as a member of the Heritage Club and liked it so much that when I had the opportunity to buy an LEC copy, I jumped at the chance. As good as the Heritage edition is (I still have it), the LEC is something else: luxurious paper, beautiful binding (but with a flaw), and Mardersteig's typically excellent printing. I find the text fascinating--I mean, these are Caesar's own words! albeit translated--and Bramanti's illustrations are just superb.
The only flaw is one in common with many post-war Mardersteig books--cracks in the front and back hinges. The boards are still attached but one day I will need to get some tape from Talas and reinforce them.
It's a shame Zhenya Gay didn't do more books for Macy; I wish she had illustrated Frankenstein for the Club.
>70 BionicJim: Books have been my pandemic panacea. I've been buying out of boredom, but I've limited myself to country-mouse prices. I hope I don't find myself needing to off-load a whole lot of unwanted books when we can get out there again. Every day I pick a book to keep by my side to stare at during working hours. I read in the evenings.
>71 Django6924: Right! Hard to believe these are actually Caesar's words!
>71 Django6924: The seller didn't mention any cracks in the hinges so I hope there won't be any. Can't be sure as they didn't provide any pictures of the interior of the book. I have already googled Talas and will ask you for advice on how to reinforce those boards if needed haha. A week ago I used some superglue on a HP volume of The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire and it worked pretty well but I am not sure how long the glue will last. It is obviously not a good solution for such a book as The Gallic Wars.
>72 maisiedotes: History of Ancient Rome/Greece is my hobby and it seems to me that George Macy also had an interest in this topic judging from the variety of HP and LEC books on Rome. The HP edition of The Gallic Wars looks great! Enjoy! BTW, my HP The Praise Of Folly still hasn't arrived from Canada. At least I have the Sandglass.
There could be several reasons why the delivery took so long.
I ordered the book on Abebooks on February 6th and the estimated delivery date was April 7th. There aren't many flights to Lithuania during these pandemic times so international orders usually take a couple or even more weeks longer than estimated. In addition to that, our national post was the last post in Europe which did all the processing of parcels by hand and only recently they modernised it and now use robots but it took them longer than expected to adjust. This means that a lot of parcels are stuck in warehouses here in Lithuania waiting to be processed and delivered to their final destinations. I had some orders reimbursed these last months (from major booksellers like Discover books or Thrift books) but the books still arrived sooner or later. I don't want to ask the small Canadian bookshop to reimburse the order of The Praise of Folly yet. A total of 35$ is a considerable amount of money for them. I'll be patient and hope to get the book soon.
The Gallic Wars is expected to arrive by May 26th. But the book is subject to customs taxes which means additional processing so it may take muuuch longer for me to finally hold it in my hands. I am also waiting for a couple more books... It is hard to be a modest book-collector in Lithuania.
>74 maisiedotes: I will definitely inform you when I get The Praise of Folly ;)
I picked up a copy and concur with your assessment.
The story contained is rather short, but it is such a pleasure to read in this format.
The binding is also handmade silk from Thailand, which is a nice touch given the setting of the story.
>76 Lukas1990: What a journey for your books. (If only they could talk!) I imagine that after the long wait, receiving the books feels all the more rewarding.
I purchased a book from Wales last year and was hoping that the envelope would sport something distinctive to its place of origin. No such luck. It arrived dusty and nondescript.
>70 BionicJim: Jim, I have that edition of Confessions. Recently, I found an un-slipcased LEC version online at a reasonable price and ordered it. It did have some smoky smell but I seem to have gotten rid of it with a little time in the garage and used dryer sheet. But it is a very large book. I would not feel comfortable sitting down and trying to read it. But of course, I wanted Zhenya Gay's large "lithographs on the stone" and signature, which I now have.
But I like the HP version better.
If there are any similar non-fiction books in the LEC catalogue, please inform me.
Looking forward to getting more Officina Bodoni/Stamperia Valdonega printed books. Trial and Death of Socrates or Orations of Cicero are just what I need!
I strongly prefer the Ricard illustrations, and yes - the paper is amazing.
My only other foray into book collecting has been the Oz books - of which I acquired all 40, plus several related volumes, all either 1st edition or very early. Had a blast putting it together & have been itching to find another outlet. I've enjoyed reading through the group archives - advice & suggestions welcome!
There is also a Google Drive that contains dozens of Monthly Letters but I'm not sure who the current contact is for access permission.
As for books, you might want to acquire a copy of the Quarto-Millenary. It can be pricy but affordable copies show up fairly often. Same with The History of the Limited Editions Club, which was published a few years ago.
It's become a fun pastime for me. The quality of these books never ceases to amaze and the value usually can't be beat among fine press publishers.
Welcome and good luck, here’s hoping we’re not after the same books ; )
A Divine Comedy slipped by me on eBay a few weeks back, that still smarts - but warm congratulations if the buyer hangs out here!
Was it the copy from Different Drummer Books by any chance? I looked long and hard at that but decided against since I own the later edition and am nearing shelf crisis!
There are some fun threads here on themes/thoughts behind collections - Macy years only, particular series etc. - but I think most of the contributors are here because they like the range the LEC (and HP/HC) offers. Which is to say I don’t really see anyone posting that their angle on collecting LECs is to amass the great novels written in English (or French), or just the poetry, or the plays. Or just the European works, or the relatively few works written by women, etc. A selection effect, perhaps.
I’ve resisted the temptation to impose any (purchases-driving) logic on my collecting other than that of buying only books I want to read that I also find attractive and can afford… and staying reasonably close to the ”Greats”, which Macy of course made easy. The idea I got closest to was collecting the first series, and if it were cheaper to do so I probably would. Once you pick up the Quarto-M (or Bibliography) you can collect by designer (Rogers, Meynell?) or publisher (Officina Bodoni?) or even by paper!
Edit: I, for one, boast a complete collection of the titles produced by the Grabhorn Press for the LEC…
That one wasn’t mine, but I second it, having spent much time there!
Which would consist entirely of Robinson Crusoe.
The Fables of Jean De La Fontaine (1930)
Troilus & Cressida (1939)
Tartuffe & the Would-Be Gentleman (1963)
Two Plays For Puritans (1966)
Poems of John Donne (1968)
Poems of Robert Browning (1969)
Ah, Wilderness (1972)
Except for the Fables, they are all poetry & drama, so I expect to look for novels & histories next time I buy. They were all in at least Very Good condition & only Troilus & Cressida was missing the slipcase.
Congratulations on a chunky haul! The other thread will soon double the price of the John Donne : )
Yes, I purchased the 1933 LEC Don Quixote from Different Drummer books. It was as nice a copy as I have seen in many years, with only minimal sun-fading at the spine and without slipcase.
Incidentally, with regard to "shelf crisis", to quote one of our former illustrious presidents: "I feel your pain". My book collecting has slowly crossed the line into obsessive-compulsive behavior and pathological hoarding resulting in complete absence of shelf space and books now being "stored" on the floor in inconspicuous parts of the house that are not directly visible, something I find more than a bit creepy. My resolve going forward is to aggressively discard books that are less valuable and/or no longer wanted to liberate enough shelf space to properly store these books and clear the floor space. Needless to say, I will only acquire 1 or 2 books for the next year or two going forward until this issue is successfully resolved.
Regarding the Books and Vines (B&V) website as an invaluable source of information for LEC collectors:
Chris Adamson owns the complete bibliography of BOTH the George Macy and the Sidney Shiff LEC books. He reluctantly was forced to discontinue this site because of legal issues revolving around copyright law and posting extensive sets of photographs for the LEC articles he was writing. Chris did not have a specific legal problem, i.e., he was not being sued, but he was strongly advised by legal counsel he consulted with to discontinue the B&V website in its current form. Chris tried writing and posting a few articles with those new constraints but it was not aesthetically satisfactory.
Incidentally, the photographs in the vast majority of the myriad B&V articles have an unusual and wonderful feature. If you left-click once over a photograph it will enlarge. If you then left-click AGAIN - a 2nd time - over the already enlarged photo, it will enlarge even further giving you a macro photo view which provides extraordinary detail with regard to the quality of the letterpress work, the wood engravings, other illustrations, and the various hand made papers.
Try it - you'll like it!!
I was tickled to discover that my copy is unread, and has numerous unopened pages, which I will have to deal with when I get around to reading it. The top edge is gilded and others are untrimmed, thus the uncut pages.
I forgot to mention that the HP edition is well-covered here.
And note the use of the long 's' on the title page, often mistaken for the letter 'f'.
Yep, the war years were tough on the LEC.
I finished reading my copy of the essays a couple of months ago, and I had to cut numerous pages to read the book. It was part of the fun for me!
It is one of the books I store horizontally, along with Emerson's Essays. A fairly short (in height) top shelf works well for this.
I see that it still has some uncut pages! I have an HP edition from the Norwalk CT period which is nicely made and which I have read. The bonded leather binding is quite attractive. The HP has red initial letters in each essay which the LEC does not. I wonder if that was BR's decision.
“Red is the most satisfactory secondary color with black, and you will often find it is better to use just one spot of color on the page. In using red for an occasional display line, blue-red or purple-red or orange-red should be avoided. A red such as the early printers had, a full-bodied, rather dull vermilion, which will hold up well with the black, is the most successful.”
-Paragraphs on Printing - William E Rudge’s Sons, 1943
It remains interesting that the Initial letters were not red in the LEC
However, here’s a photo from from a 1926 colophon that illustrates the last comment regarding the use of red:
Not purple-red; not blue-red; not orange-red!
A full-bodied rather dull vermillion.
If you don't mind me asking, would you PM me the purchase price? I've had my copy listed for almost a month and there seems to be no interest.
I was in Half Price Books a couple of days ago and came across The Call of the Wild (HP). I loved the illustrations by Henry Varnum Poor but couldn't bring myself to buy the book because the story makes me flinch.
Three days later, Call is still calling my name. Does anyone buy a book just for the pictures?
I will buy any book illustrated by Boardman Robinson (if I can afford it), Valenti Angelo (illuminations more so than illustrations), Arthur Szyk (a controversial choice, I know), Agnes Miller Parker (and I'm buying the Hardy novels just because of her illustrations), Sylvain Sauvage (Zadig is far from Voltaire's best--but the pictures!), and Lynd Ward.
I am a huge fan and collector of Frans Masereel and Lynd Ward, the two most influential artists in the evolution of the wordless novel. Although not an LEC or letterpress book, the Library of America publishers created an exceptionally attractive and well thought out collection of all six of Lynd Ward's wordless novels (see link). It is currently being offered directly from the LOA website at -40% discount and it is highly recommended to LEC-ers and anyone interested in the genre and evolution of the wordless novel and the serious comic, e.g., Maus, etc.
Agreed, the 2 volume set of these wordless novels is a must for anyone interested in the graphic arts, in the technique of wood engraving, and/or who shares Ward's egalitarian sensibilities.
Wear at both ends of the spine and missing the ML, but otherwise a nice copy. Very excited to add this to my collection.
Second, The Life & Voyages of Christopher Columbus
My first book still in the original glisine (sp?) and just in spectacular condition. Quite a beautiful book!
Is that the one with the Frank Masreel woodcuts? It's a great one, which I acquired in preference to the LEC Praise of Folly.
Both editions are wonderful. In another thread, we discussed the probability that the Masreel-illustrated version from van Krimpen was originally intended as an Limited Editions Club, but the war prevented that and the LEC printed it in the US with Lynd Ward's illustrations.
I wouldn't mind owning the LEC version! Love the cover design and all those marginal illustrations by Lynd Ward. Though there's some mystique about Frans Masereel woodcuts. They are really unique and, as I understand from the Sandglass, very on-topic.
Your being up at 3AM ordering books reminded me of how I, as a mom of little ones, used to wake up in the middle of the night TO READ! I was so hungry for book-time.
Here's to your son inheriting your love of books.
As for Erasmus, I've pulled it off the shelf . . . .
Since I spent more than 7/8ths of my life in Boston, I looked forward to getting this book. The Introduction is by M.A. (Mark Antony) De Wolfe Howe, a prominent and distinguished Bostonian historian and biographer. R.H. Holden's illustrations are absolutely evocative.
Sadly it is missing the Monthly Letter (it's not on the drive) and if anyone can spare a copy I'd be grateful-and perhaps can provide one back.
Bliv medlem af gruppen, hvis du vil skrive et indlæg