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Assistance required with Fellowship of the Ring UK 1st Editions

3 Sep, 2006
2006-9-3 8:36:36 AM UTC

I noticed on Ebay a seller has a copy of the FOTR 1st/1st ... 29223QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem in quite poor condition but some of the best photographs that I have ever seen of this edition (about 50 in total).

I own a 2nd, 4th impression and Readers Union FOTR and I know that one of differences between the 1st Impression and the later impressions are the Elvish inscriptions on the title page (Hammond page 94).

Both my 2nd and 4th Impression books have a problem with the Top inscription in that the far left line of vertical dots is missing, but these are shown in the Reader Union edition. I have attached a picture showing the difference betwen the impressions, look at the top left of the two images.

This looks to be another undocumented mistake that was made when the book was reset by Jarrold and Son's without the knowledge of the publisher of Tolkien for the 2nd Impression.

If you have any early pre 1960 FOTR's Can you have a look at your copy? I would be intested to know when this was fixed and the 4 vertical dots were shown again on the page.

10_44fa9414be65a.jpg 640X512 px
4 Sep, 2006
2006-9-4 6:36:58 PM UTC
Trotter -

My 7th Impression from 1957 shows the line of dots.

The difference may be due to different binding sizes. Most impressions of FR are Medium 8vo size (with pages about 14cm wide), while a few impressions were cut to the slightly smaller Demi 8vo size (with pages about 13.5cm wide).

Was it you that contacted me a while ago about the lettering on the spine of the binding of 4th Impression copies of FR? I have found some additional information on this in the A&U archive. The books were bound in 2 or 3 batches - Purnells (the printers/binders) mistakenly blocked the first batch in silver rather than gold foil and used the wrongly style of lettering. A&U complained when they were charged for the wrong type of blocking foil. Presumably Purnells then checked the example of the binding that they had been supplied with and rectified the error for later copies.
6 Sep, 2006
2006-9-6 12:36:48 PM UTC
Deagol, Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I did contact you about the lettering on the 4th Impression. As I understand it, the original question was why did the spine of my 4th Impression have a completely different GA&U on the spine (silver and a different font) compared with a copy on E-Bay?

So as you state there are two different 4th Impression Bindings and yet another printers mistake to add to the list.

Do you want a scan of the binding for your website?
9 Sep, 2006
2006-9-9 7:53:44 AM UTC
Yes please!
14 May, 2008
2008-5-14 3:47:43 PM UTC
I have a 1st edition 5th impression copy of A&U FotR, which does show the four vertical dots on the far left of the cirth line on the left-hand (or opposite) title page.

So that might settle the change - if it has not already been settled. (Or not, if someone comes up with a different state, or different 6th imp. ...)
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