Tolkien Collector's Guide
By mellon
Just popping in

Hobbit 1st/3rd 1942 GA&U Spine

Sep 15
2020/9/15 21:02:46 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Hi, been lurking a few months and learning tons from reading through the forums here. Really appreciate the breadth and depth of discussion that goes on here. I'm looking to purchase a copy of a 1st/3rd GA&U Hobbit and am talking with a seller.

No dj and faded on the spine, and to a lesser extent on the covers. One of the maps is missing. I noticed that the pictures he sent had 'Allen and Unwin' written on the bottom of the spine. I referenced this against various other 1st ed. impressions and noticed that the spine text should read 'George Allen & Unwin Ltd'. The spine in the images seems consistent with 2nd ed. impressions.

My question is were any 1st ed. copies bound with 'Allen and Unwin' on the spine? I checked the TolkienBooks page and didn't see anything mentioning multiple trade bindings being used. I've asked a couple times for a picture of the publication page, but the seller has been beating around the bush on sending pictures. I'd think the War Economy Standard mark and impression line would clear it up, unless the book has somehow been rebound in a 2nd edition binding.

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Sep 15
2020/9/15 21:17:22 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
There are much better early Hobbit experts here that will hopefully chime in, but that really looks like a third edition Hobbit, not a third impression, to my eye. I dug around and found a few fourth impression spine examples, and they all say "George Allen & Unwin Ltd." on the spine, so I don't think a third impression would be different. Also, Hammond's Bibliography makes no mention of the change of the spine text until the second edition ("fifth impression").

[Edit] Forgot to say welcome to the site! Glad you are here, and this is a very good question to start with. 😉
Sep 15
2020/9/15 21:52:42 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
As Uruloke says, that is not a 1st/3rd - the spines of the 1st ed. printings [1st imp. (1937) to 4th imp (1946) ] all have 'George Allen & Unwin Ltd' on the spines.

'Allen and Unwin' came in with the 2nd ed. of 1951; and carried on into the 3rd ed. of 1966.

Also, I have several copies from the fifties and sixties; the book in this photo matches some of my copies as far as sunning is concerned. And the colouring of the cloth is just wrong for a book from 1942 or 1946 (even allowing the sunning). Lastly - the book is too thick to be a 1st/3rd or a 1st/4th. Truly.
Sep 15
2020/9/15 21:56:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
There is no reasonable explanation for not providing a photo of the copyright page, unless the page is missing.
Sep 15
2020/9/15 22:03:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
This book is in rough shape as well. Looks like someone took the DJ off and left it on a shelf that got direct sunlight for years. It's really cool to find an early printing of The Hobbit(I'm currently haggling on one as well) But the condition of this book has to factor into the asking price.
Sep 15
2020/9/15 22:34:43 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
From the look of the page edges, it appears to have the wrong number of gatherings too.
Sep 15
2020/9/15 23:55:31 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Wrong cloth, wrong spine text, wrong thickness. That is absolutely not a 1st/3rd. Is probably a third edition.

Whatever it is, it is worthless (nice third editions in nice jackets cost next to nothing). I wouldn't waste any more time in discussion with the seller.
Sep 16
2020/9/16 0:11:59 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thanks all for such collectively resolute input. I didn't know the thickness varied enough between editions to tell by eye! If anything interesting comes from the seller I'll update here, maybe it'll even make the wonders thread, but I'll consider this issue resolved.
Sep 16
2020/9/16 4:34:59 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The 1st/3rd binding does have George Allen & Unwin Ltd at the base of the spine, this is not that edition.
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