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Two Towers 1st/1st?
Just popping in
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Hello,

I hope you all can answer a question for me.

I was digging through a box of books I picked up several years ago and came a cross an old copy of The Two Towers. Doing some research, I found it is a 1st US edition.

My question is, how can I tell if it's the first printing?

The title page has Houghton Mifflin as the publisher dated 1955. On the back side of the title page it says Copyright 1954, first printed in the US 1955. At the bottom is says Printed in Great Britian.

I read that although the first printing was done in Nov. 1954, the American copies hadn't been bound until 1955.

It doesn't mention anything else in the way of determining which printing it is.

I'm no collector so keep the jargon to a dull roar or you'll confuse me and make my head hurt.

I'm so excited! I feel like I just found some buried treasure in my own closet!

David

Posted on: 2008/10/14 10:38


Re: Two Towers 1st/1st?
Shirrif
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Shirrif
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Sadly, It was very difficult, the first Houghton Mifflin Impression of The Two Towers was issued in April 1955 and was only 1000 copies, so probably the scarcest of all the Tolkien First Impressions. The pre-1960 copies of the HM book lack printing data on the Title Page.

You need to look at Steven M. Frisby's article in The Tolkien Collector (No 21) to work it out, lot of steps to go through as HM did not easily identify the editions, six steps to check including the Dust-Jacket.

Posted on: 2008/10/14 10:56


Re: Two Towers 1st/1st?
Home away from home
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Here is how to identify the printing in six steps:

1) (1st vs later) Check the title page. If 1955 appears, it is a 1st impression.

2) Check verso of title page. If it is blank except for 'Printed in Great Britain', or does not specifically state the impression number, go to Step 3. 7th-10th impressions have full A&U printing history. Later printings (11th-13th) have imp number and no date and 'Printed in the United States of America'.

3) (2nd & 3rd vs 4th or later) Check p.118/39. If the passage reads 'fire and flood' go to Step 4. If it reads 'fire and death' go to Step 5.

4) (2nd vs 3rd) Check the following: (1) p.19/page number: 19 > 1* (tail of '9' bent or clipped). (2) p.104/32: say: > say (colon lost). (3) p.104/33: Nine. > Nine: (colon replace period). (4) p.230/41: 'Not far > (indent reduced to match other lines). (5) p.263/9: said Sam > said Sam. (period added). Earlier reading is the 2nd imp, later reading is the 3rd impression. [There are some minor binding variants for these impressions, I can give you the info if you are really interested.]

5) (4th vs later) Check the following: (1) p.38/30: Mark > *ark ('M' left foot bent). (2) p.77/41: again > agai* ('n' top damaged). (3) p.164/2: Merry?' > Merry?* (quotation mark damaged). (4) p.170/3: in the third > in the second (type misaligned). 1st reading is the 4th imp. 2nd reading is later. If later go to Step 6.

6) (5th vs 6th): Check the following: (1) p.20/15: past > pas* (top of 't' damaged). (2) p.20/18: bring > *ring ('b' ascender damaged). (3) p.122./38: treasures > t*easures (first 'r' damaged). (4) p.137/24: weariness > *eariness ('w' right foot damaged). 1st reading is the 5th imp. 2nd reading is a 6th impression.

Hopefully this all makes sense!

Posted on: 2008/10/14 11:37


Re: Two Towers 1st/1st?
Just popping in
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At the bottom, the title page says...

Houghton Mifflin Company Boston
The Riverside Press Cambridge
1955

So I guess this is a 1st impression.

Now what do I do with it other than put it in a plastic bag and gloat over my luck. 8)

Thank you very much for the info.

You made me a happy, happy guy!

Posted on: 2008/10/14 12:21


Re: Two Towers 1st/1st?
Home away from home
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Now what do I do with it other than put it in a plastic bag and gloat over my luck. 8)

- well, you could try looking for the other two volumes...

-incidentally, does your book have a dustwrapper? And what's the general condition like?

Posted on: 2008/10/14 13:38



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