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By Red
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UK 2nd Edition - inside front dust jacket

8 Sep, 2023
2023-9-8 5:55:12 AM UTC

I have a first printing set of the second edition UK LotR (1966). There is a slight difference in the text block at the bottom of the inside dustjacket, just below where it indicates "Second Printing" and the volume title. Does anyone have an idea what the black rectangles represent, and why they are only present on the second and third volumes? Just curious. Thanks.

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8 Sep, 2023 (edited)
2023-9-8 6:12:12 AM UTC
The Black overprinting was only really ever done for a price change.

I imagine they printed the dust-jackets for The Two Towers and The Return of the King first and then realized that they wanted to increase the price, but were able to make this change prior to printing The Fellowship of the Ring wrappers.

They then overprinted the black bar on the printed sheets and Price in UK and 25s net at the bottom of the dust-wrappers.

I would guess that the text under the black bar is 21s net Price in UK
8 Sep, 2023
2023-9-8 3:36:09 PM UTC
Hammond documents this in J.R.R. Tolkien A Descriptive Bibliography.

On The Two Towers dustjacket, they mistakenly printed "Return of the King" and covered it with a black bar on some copies of the jacket. On The Return of the King dustjacket, they mistakenly printed "The Two Towers" and covered it with a black bar. Not all jackets have this, and Hammond says "no priority determined" for which jacket came first, at the time the Bibliography was published back in 1993.

Bibliography pp. 127, 130-1.
8 Sep, 2023
2023-9-8 4:46:21 PM UTC
Thank you Jeremy, that is an interesting piece of Tolkien book related history. I also thought Andrew's explanation was quite plausible, and was what I had suspected as well.
9 Sep, 2023
2023-9-9 8:44:23 AM UTC
Thanks for this thread. I never realized there was a bar on some jackets. Indeed when I looked the set I own, my Two Towers jacket has it.

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9 Sep, 2023
2023-9-9 10:33:20 AM UTC
Thanks from me as well. I had not had a chance to track this down. I have 2 sets of the first printings second editions. The names are blacked out on the 2 volumes in one set and not on the other! I’m happy to have both variants.
9 Sep, 2023
2023-9-9 2:17:37 PM UTC
Had to dig mine out of storage to check, looks like both are the black bar variants.

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9 Sep, 2023
2023-9-9 3:35:53 PM UTC
I have not got as far as cataloguing my second edition Lord of the Rings copies yet. However I have a first and second impression on the shelves and have now checked the others that I could easily locate. My first impression set has the black bars on The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I have found a total of three copies of the first impression of the The Return of the King (see here). All have black bars. I've also shown the same part of the cover for a second and third impression of The Return of the King. The second impression does not have the impression number of the flyleaf, although the third and all subsequent impressions of this dustwrapper design do. The second impression cover must presumably be the same as the first impression cover without the black bars. It seems that the black bar covers are in a significant majority at the moment. Perhaps the new covers without the error only came in for a small number of the first impression and then were used for some or all of the second impression(?)

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