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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 !

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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.

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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.
Dec 4
2019/12/4 1:26:15 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Trotter wrote:

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


I don't have detailed notes in front of me, but for a long time Houghton Mifflin indicated "first impression" by having the date on the title page, and then "later impressions" by removing the date. No other impression information was given. At some point they started including impression indication for all of their titles.
Dec 4
2019/12/4 1:53:31 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:

I don't have detailed notes in front of me, but for a long time Houghton Mifflin indicated "first impression" by having the date on the title page, and then "later impressions" by removing the date. No other impression information was given. At some point they started including impression indication for all of their titles.
Oh right... print numbers weren't stated regularly for their Hobbit edition until 1964, and dates pretty much never!
Dec 5
2019/12/5 0:24:15 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
So from what I can tell (and I know this isn't exactly precise) your jacket is either a 3rd, 4th or 5th.

That 'V' on the back cover began with the 3rd impression but was corrected by the 7th (there was no 6th). I think it's reasonable to assume the 10th and 11th didn't revert back to that style since the 12th is seen without the 'V' but you can check: "the left arm of the 'w' in 'will' is clipped on line 11 of the 1/3 and 1/4 front flap blurb. This flaw was corrected by the eighth impression" (Frisby). A 7th impression DJ was later seen and was identical to the 8th.

It's unusual that the jacket and book's date don't match, but it happens often enough. The gap of time would lead me to guess that this was done by a previous owner and not the publisher.
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