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Re: A new collection
Home away from home
Joined:
2006/6/4 16:49
From The Green Hill Country
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Hi Tom -

You know not the peril of asking a collector about her/his collection! It is akin to asking a Hobbit about genealogy! I will simply say that I collect Tolkien calendars. You can find my catalog/collection at:

www.angelfire.com/tn3/tolkiencalendars

I started the Tolkien Calendar Collecting thread in these forums under Calendars, Posters, and Other Artwork. If you wish to know more about me and the book collectors who frequent this forum, check out the collector profiles at:

http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/collecting/collectors/collectors.htm

Pieter's site is about the best on the web for information on the (hardcover) books. You should also read his page about collecting in general.

I can tell that you have the collector gene from your third post. As Pieter stated, the question is "What to collect?" I think it is somewhat like choosing one's major in college. You may start out with one thing and wind up with another. Unless you are René van Rossenberg of Tolkienwinkel, you can not collect everything. But you will probably try a number of different things and then realize what it is that gives you the most satisfaction.

And that is what collecting is all about. It is not about the monetary value of one's collection. It is about the enjoyment that you get from it, and I can state (and many times have) that the best part of collecting is the people that one meets (if only virtually, for the most part) in one's quest. The paperbacks may be a good place to start. It is still possible to collect them in quite good condition and at a reasonable prices.

The next question is where to find them. eBay is an obvious site. There are also many on-line booksellers (including Rown's Books [hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink ], Amazon.com, etc) where you can find current and older items.

Which brings me to prices: I have obtained a lot of items on eBay. It is VERY easy to overpay for an item. My best advice (through hard won experience) is to watch a number of auctions for items of interest to you and get a feel for the market (what are things selling for? how rare is an item?) before buying a lot of items. Unless an item is truly rare (post questions here about items for advice on this), it WILL appear again (trust me on this!) So set a limit and try to stick to it. You will undoubtedly find the best "treasures" are those that you "get for a song".

Which brings me to condition: Condition affects (or certainly should) the value of an item. Ask the seller LOTS of questions about the condition of the books: Edition/impression/publisher/printer? Any markings or inscriptions? Stains or foxing? Creases? Dustjacket condition (same questions)?

Take some time (as you are doing now) to learn the terminology of the items. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS! At worst, you'll get no answer. That is not my experience in these forums. However, these are message boards NOT IM. So you will have to be patient and wait for responses. (With the holidays, I am not certain that the regulars have been visiting.)

Re the green boxed set: The books all have the Barbara Remington covers; they are not green. When put side-by-side, they form a triptych (which was sold as a very large poster in the late 60s/early 70s and is now very hard to find and therefore very collectible). Sorry, I'm not willing to part with it. I discovered it on eBay earlier this year and found that the seller was located in the town next to me. It is in almost perfect condition and the books are all second printings. But such an item is entirely possible to collect.

Two points to make: (1) "The answer is always 'no' if you don't ask." So, you should always ask someone if they are willing to part with an item. (2) "The thrill is in the hunt." Once you have decided upon what to collect (or you suddenly realize after looking at your collection that you are a .... collector [fill in the blank]), there is the excitement of discovering a new item. For instance, I have been collecting the calendars for years. Still, I added 51 new or previously undiscovered calendars to my catalog last year and was fortunate to collect 47 of them. Thus, I added four more to my "To Get" list!

Like college, I think my best advice is to collect a number of different things initially. You will eventually figure out what you enjoy the most and concentrate on that. I am OCD about the calendars, but had a fascination with the Ace and early Ballantine paperback issues (and they were entirely affordable!) It would be fun to find each of the Ace volumes in excellent condition and assemble a set.

And I know EXACTLY what you mean by "something of REAL significance". That is what drives my quest. The title of my website is that quest. I wish to make it a complete collection and obtain at least one copy of every calendar that I can discover. Within that collection, "my precious" is the 1974 A&U calendar that JRRT inscribed for a colleague.

The "impression" of a book is the same as the "printing". It may be a difference in terms between British and American English. For the earlist impressions/printings, there is a number line on the page following the title page. If it shows "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1", then it is a first impression. However, that does NOT make it a first edition. JRRT edited the LotR to correct some errors and inconsistencies in the story. So what you are reading today is the second edition. Christopher Tolkien's HoME series is all about (in VERY GREAT detail) how the books evolved. And yes, for the paperbacks that you are talking about, the printing is very clearly stated on that page.

Hope this helps. Ask all the questions that you wish. As others have helped (and continue to help) me, I will help you as I can.

Happy New Year and Good Luck!

Away from The Green Hill Country,

Parmastahir

Posted on: 2008/1/1 8:28
_________________
Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise can not see all ends.


Re: A new collection
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2007/12/30 17:44
From Tulsa Oklahoma USA
Group:
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Posts: 26
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I bookmarked your website last week!

I enjoyed looking through it, and I like you like to collect calendars. I never knew there were so many and have only been collecting the movie ones as I thought that was all there were, but after stumbling on your website last week I now know I am a bit behind the times I hope to one day like you have 1 of every lotr calendar ever printed.

Thank you for your reply it really shed light on all my questions

-Tom

Posted on: 2008/1/1 10:01
_________________
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.


Re: A new collection
Thain
Joined:
2006/5/26 20:36
From California, USA
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Hi and welcome Tom,

glad to have you discover this site, and my apologies for the relative silence when you found us! It has been quiet here with the holidays (for me in particular, I have either been on the road, or working working working.) I was hoping to put some serious time into adding to this site but that will have to wait until mid-January it looks like.

Working backwards as I have time today...

4A)How does one determine the impression of a book?
4B)What does impression mean?

5A)I still am not s'ure, how you determine the printing of a book?
5B)Does it say first printing in plain English?

6)What does the number line mean?


Impressions and printings are the same thing - as Parmastahir said, probably just an American/British English distinction. To go back in time a bit (now in the digital age this doesn't apply so much) printers would have to make plates composed of lots of little metal letters facing backwards (reading right to left). They would then roll ink on these plates, and press them onto paper (thus making an "impression" or "printing" of the plate) that would be cut and bound into the book as a page or multiple pages. Minor changes were often made between impressions, as spelling corrections were made, etc. If major changes were made in the text, or if new plates had to be made, it is referred to as a new "edition" and the impression/printing number for that edition would start over.

So it is possible to have a first edition/fourth printing, a fourth edition/second printing, a second edition/first printing, a first edition/first printing, etc. etc.

Collectors do tend to highly value the first edition/first printings more than anything else, though in Tolkien collecting there are so many editions that it is quite easy to get started collecting (and build quite an impressive collection!) without needing to spend the money on 1st/1sts. Getting started on paperbacks is a great way to begin for little money - here in the USA I have managed to collect a very large number of UK paperbacks just by visiting lots of used book stores or library book sales locally, just as an example.

So, how do you identify the edition and impression/printing of a particular book? It depends! Haha. It depends on the publisher, the year (most publishers have changed their method of indicating impressions over the years), the country, and the whim of the printers it seems sometimes.

It is important to learn a few basics that will tide you over well. All of these can be found on the copyright page, which is usually on the flip side ("verso") of the Title Page inside the book. First, since you asked, let's discuss "the number line". There are multiple variations on the number line that I have seen, so here is just one example to get us started:

03 04 05 06 07 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

In this case above, the printer is indicating two things: on the left, with the numbers starting with zeroes, is the year of the book. On the right is the printing or impression of the book. You read both numbers by looking for the lowest number that is still visible: in this particular case, the year is 2003 ("03") and the impression is a first ("1"). Why do they do it this way? It goes back again to the old plate printing days - the printer would create a plate for the book for the first impression, and print up a number of copies. When those copies are sold and shipped and more are needed, the printer would strike off the lowest number on the plate, and print up another batch. ("10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2"). This is still used today, even though in the digital age it is trivial to come up with some other method.

On older books, it is common to see other methods for indicating impressions. For example, George Allen & Unwin liked to use the method of adding a line of text for each impression, for example a book might say:

First impression, 1982
Second impression, 1983
Third impression, 1985

A good book to save up for as you get more serious about collecting Tolkien would of course be Hammond's Bibliography. A good starter book for book collecting in general would be John Carter's ABCs for Book Collectors.

More as I have time (the kids are awake now so I have to run for a bit...) Feel free to post as many questions as you like on any of these topics and I will get around to answering everything soon! Other regulars (and visitors!) will be contributing as well, these are all good conversations to have!

Welcome again!
Jeremy

Posted on: 2008/1/1 10:16
_________________
- Jeremy


Re: A new collection
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2007/12/30 17:44
From Tulsa Oklahoma USA
Group:
Shirefolk
Posts: 26
Offline
I completely understand now all about the printings!

Thank you

AS for J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography by Hammond, which would you recommend me buying, the 1993, or the 2002. Are there any differences between them?

Thanks again
-Tom

Posted on: 2008/1/1 11:22
_________________
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.


Re: A new collection
Thain
Joined:
2006/5/26 20:36
From California, USA
Group:
Thain
Shirefolk
Fellowship
Posts: 1198
Offline
There's no text difference between the 1993 first impression and the 2002 second impression. Last I heard from the publisher they were going to make a third impression as well, but I haven't seen it yet. I am about to order a few more copies for sale, they will be $80 through rowns.com and I will post a notice here when I have them in stock.

Posted on: 2008/1/1 11:35
_________________
- Jeremy



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