Tolkien Collector's Guide

Winner of the 2019 Tolkien Society award for Best Website

Houghton Mifflin FotR 1st Edition - not sure about printing

Dec 2
2019/12/2 22:53:16 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Hi everyone, just bought a copy of an H&M 1st Edition, I have incertainty regarding printing and asking for your knowledge:)

The jacket has the picture of tolkien as a V (distinguishing a 3rd or 4th printing)
The title page has both Allen & Unwin and Houghton an Mifflin imprints.
The half title page has no collophon or A&U mention
Copyright page stating "Printed in England" in capital letter
Page 424 lacks any collophon.

By the picture of Tolkien with a "V" on the bottom line, the printibg should be 3rd or 4th (according to tolkienbooks.us).
But the title page showing both publisher is intriguing. Could it belong to the first batch of January 1955 limited to 500 copies?

There is the same vicinity on the dust-wrapper and the binding (front right bottom corner), so if the cloth and jacket are mismatched, it would be very strange.

Thank you for your help !

4888_5de59552d9c38.jpg 1123X830 px

4888_5de595585cb97.jpg 1067X798 px

4888_5de5955f5a20b.jpg 1171X699 px

4888_5de595677c5c0.jpg 593X926 px

4888_5de595703c8bd.jpg 1083X900 px

4888_5de595a65dc66.jpg 609X901 px

4888_5de595c001077.jpg 596X880 px
Load previous replies
Dec 3
2019/12/3 0:28:25 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thank you very much Urulókë !
I don't have the book with as of now, but once I would have it in my hands, I will check for sure !
Dec 3
2019/12/3 5:03:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
If I can chime in here.. I think you have a 9th printing.

I can't get to my notes right now unfortunately, but I think the 10th and 11th printings of Fellowship were believed to have print info/dates on their copyright pages. I haven't seen a 10th or 11th either (frustratingly) but the idea is simply based on the fact that the concurrent printings of Towers and Return began to state print info when FotR 10th was issued. so FotR 10th would most likely do the same.

Another note from Frisby's article: "FR 1/9 was the first Houghton Mifflin impression to have a joint A&U/HM title-page, and is the only Purnell impression with the correct reading on p. 414/28 ‘honr’ > ‘hour’. The ninth is also the only FR seen that has a joint A8U/HM title-page without also having the Allen & Unwin printing history on the title verso."

Purnell impressions were the ones that stated "PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN" (all caps) on the title verso (the same statement on the impressions printed by Jarrold & sons was in italics).

The entries on TolkienBooks.US for these books are just plain inadequate. Fleshing the three pages out has been on my to-do list for years now. Also, for the record, I corresponded with Mr. Frisby and although I did draw largely from his article (with permission), I recall updating certain points when necessary. So if you happen to spot a couple diverging facts, this is either because I came to a new conclusion based on additional research, or I made a mistake (my money would be on the latter).
Dec 3
2019/12/3 7:10:13 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thank you so much Berelach, much appreciated. That what i believed also...
I don't have the book in my hand but as I said to Urulókë i will check asap will all points both of you have highlighted.

What intrigues me is still the jacket (if it is a 9th printed indeed).
Please find below a picture from another ad where the guy - I suppose - could have sold a 9th printing. Many convergins point (H&M and A&U titles on title page, "PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN" on verso, jacket not priced, but a fair straight bottom line of the Tolkien photograph (mine is V).
Would tend to show tha both straight and V bottom lines tolkien pics were in circulation for 9th, 10th, 11th printings.

The history of H&M editions is really tricky indeed.

4888_5de6099f2aecb.jpg 3264X2448 px

4888_5de609a4ca6df.jpg 3264X2448 px

4888_5de609abacb81.jpg 2448X3264 px

4888_5de609b1c1e6e.jpg 3264X2448 px

4888_5de609b74eed4.jpg 2448X3264 px
Dec 3
2019/12/3 14:28:17 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
While waiting for my book to arrive, I just found some very interesting auctions with pictures.
This is a whole set of 3 books, with copyright page scanned.
Fellowship is stated to be 10th printing, and has its copyright page with all printing details since the first, to the tenth, stating 1961. We also can see (by trasnparency) that the half title page has the A&U collophon.
Maybe this picture help to determine that printing details have come from the 10th printing after all?, involving mine is at the highest a 9th printing.

Here at the pictures.

4888_5de670c48f6ba.jpg 1600X1274 px

4888_5de670d3e27f1.jpg 1600X471 px
Dec 3
2019/12/3 15:45:41 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

emilien wrote:
While waiting for my book to arrive, I just found some very interesting auctions with pictures.
This is a whole set of 3 books, with copyright page scanned.
Fellowship is stated to be 10th printing, and has its copyright page with all printing details since the first, to the tenth, stating 1961. We also can see (by trasnparency) that the half title page has the A&U collophon.
Maybe this picture help to determine that printing details have come from the 10th printing after all?, involving mine is at the highest a 9th printing.

Here at the pictures.

Thanks for sharing that Emilien! That does indeed confirm what was assumed.
Dec 3
2019/12/3 17:04:15 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Berelach wrote:
....
Another note from Frisby's article: "FR 1/9 was the first Houghton Mifflin impression to have a joint A&U/HM title-page, and is the only Purnell impression with the correct reading on p. 414/28 ‘honr’ > ‘hour’. The ninth is also the only FR seen that has a joint A8U/HM title-page without also having the Allen & Unwin printing history on the title verso."

That's a good catch. Frisby's article evidently has a mistake - it says in step 2 to check for the joint A&U/HM title-page, and if found, skip to checking between 10th impression through 12th. But then for the 8th/9th check it says the 9th is the first to have the joint title-page.

So looks like emilien could well have a 9th impression, and the 10th should have the printings indicated on the verso of the title page. Good detective work everyone!
Dec 3
2019/12/3 17:28:30 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
If only Houghton Mifflin had printed impression details, does anyone know why they did not?
Dec 3
2019/12/3 17:31:51 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Yes bih thanks to both of you.
The only point that remains is the jacket. I'm waiting to have it in my hands to analyse carefully the points distinguishing the 3rd and 4th printing DJ.
I checked some pictures of FotR 7th/8th and 9th impressions and none have the picture of Tolkien with a "V"
Don't know about the 5th printing though.
Dec 3
2019/12/3 17:54:59 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I think Berelach can help you with this, and let us know what transpires
Dec 4
2019/12/4 1:04:16 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:

That's a good catch. Frisby's article evidently has a mistake - it says in step 2 to check for the joint A&U/HM title-page, and if found, skip to checking between 10th impression through 12th. But then for the 8th/9th check it says the 9th is the first to have the joint title-page.


Yes, that error was corrected in the next issue (no. 21, p. 27).


Trotter wrote:

If only Houghton Mifflin had printed impression details, does anyone know why they did not?


I really don't know. My only not so well-educated guess is that maybe this had something to do with them not importing the 2nd impression from A&U (as well as certain printings of TTT and RotK and the FotR 6th printing) and the confusion that would have caused? With FotR's 2nd imp. they would have had to make this decision relatively quickly after the first printing. Maybe it took them a few years then to get into the rhythm? From the same Tolkien Collector essay by Frisby:

"Given the demand for FR in America, it seems likely that corresponding HM impressions will eventually be found for all or nearly all Allen & Unwin printings. There appears to be at least one exception: the printing of A&U FR 1/2 was ordered (in September 1954) before HM FR 1/1 was published (October 1954)- Houghton Mifflin did not order more copies until December 1954, when the third impression was already in progress."

Does that seem at all plausible to someone who knows more about how these things tend to go?


emilien wrote:

The only point that remains is the jacket. I'm waiting to have it in my hands to analyse carefully the points distinguishing the 3rd and 4th printing DJ.
I checked some pictures of FotR 7th/8th and 9th impressions and none have the picture of Tolkien with a "V"
Don't know about the 5th printing though.


I will try to have a look through my notes later tonight.
Load more
Jump to Last