Tolkien Collector's Guide
UK First Edition Silmarillion Dust Wrapper Colours

UK First Edition Silmarillion Dust Wrapper Colours

Feb 12, 2008

I have a fairly comprehensive collection of all the Impressions that exist (one doesn't) and Publishers of the GA&U Silmarillion from 1977.

Deagol states on his wonderful (forgot to say fantastic) website that there is a difference in colour on the dust jackets of the first export edition.

"The difference in colour between the two dustwrapper variants is subtle, but is noticeable when the two are placed next to each other."

I can't see this at all, all my copies look identical in colour, all 8 of them.

So if you have copies of the first Export Edition (printed by Clowes), can you confirm this statement, as I much I'd like to, I can't.
Feb 12, 2008
Alas, I only have one Clowes copy ... but I'd love to acquire any variants that exist!
Feb 12, 2008
>Deagol states on his wonderful (forgot to say fantastic) website

Too kind!!

Do your Clowes Export copies display the other features of the 2 variants?

1) Dark blue cloth binding, with blue and white striped headband and dyed blue top edge.

2) Dark blue textured paper binding, no headband and no dye to top edge.
Feb 13, 2008
Yes, I have 2 copies of the first variant and one copy of the second variant.
Feb 13, 2008
I checked my copies of the two Clowes Variants and there is indeed a difference in colour between the dustjackets (I would say, a more than subtle difference - it is quite noticeable).

Variant 1 (Top Stain, Headband, Cloth Boards) has a deep Navy Coloured Dustjacket.

Variant 2 (No Top Stain, No Headband, Paper Over Boards) has a lighter Navy Coloured Dustjacket with a Slight Purple tinge to it.

The Colour of the Variant 2 Dustjacket also matches that of the Billings Printing.

There is no fading to any of the dustjackets.
Feb 13, 2008
Trotter - Can you see the colour difference between these images?

Open in new window

Open in new window
Feb 14, 2008
It is obvious with those two examples, but not with my copies.

Scanning the covers did allow me to spot a difference between the export and domestic edition.

I have attached three scans of covers, one scan is the Billings First Edition (which does look a different colour to me), One scan is the Clowes First Export (with headband, and cloth) and the final scan is the Clowes First Export (Second Variant, Paper Cover no headband).

Can anyone tell which one is which?

(Answer 1 is the 2nd Clowes Variant, 2 is the Billings Domestic Edition, 3 is the 1st Clowes Variant)

10_47b3d681ec4ca.jpg 290X448 px

10_47b3d6a65c8bc.jpg 291X448 px

10_47b3d6bf0e9ac.jpg 296X448 px
Feb 14, 2008
Is number 2 the Clowes First Export (with headband, and cloth)?
It looks more blue than blue-purple.
Feb 15, 2008
Here are the answers to which cover is which?

Picture 1 - Clowes First Export (Second Variant, Paper Cover no headband)

Picture 2 - Billings First Edition (Domestic Edition)

Picture 3 - Clowes First Export (with headband, and cloth)

The Billings Edition is more Blue than Purple, but I think both of my Clowes copies have identically coloured blue/purple wrappers, which contradicts Remy's post as his copies are different.

So to sum up the two Export Edition variants can be seen in either coloured wrapper.
Feb 16, 2008
I think this is a tricky area to pin down because the difference (can) be so subtle (and almost all description has used Hammond as a starting point). I have ~20 GA&U variants (although obviously not that many 1st/1st variants); and describing the shades is very subjective. I made a table for them all at one point; will post if I have anything worthwhile to add...

Feb 17, 2008
For a start its perfectly possible if there are two distinct Clowes jackets (for 1rst state, and for 2nd state [and 2nd imp.] books), that one or the other could end up on the incorrect corresponding book; as Clowes undoubtedly made them all at the same time. They may have run out of one when covering the 1st state book and used 2nd state jackets (i.e. blue-purple jacket on Clowes-cloth book; according to Hammond colours).

Trotter! You're scans are not helpful!

Rather than the Billing (and other later impressions) being 'Blue-purple', I think the Clowes-cloth 1st state jacket should have been described as destinctly 'Blue-black' (inky almost). Its destinctly darker than the other jackets; and lacks that warm blue/purple colour.

I think when you see a Billing copy (scan picture) on Ebay its quite destinct from the Clowes-cloth 1st state (it has this grainy texture to it); but some definitely look more purple than others.

I've got a range of 1st Edition jackets (and books) that should be representative of their repective impressions/states; but without consulting mutiple copies its impossible (I think) for any of us to say with conviction what the destinction is (if any) between them all.

Suffice to say Hammond certainly spotted a subtle difference in shade/colour between the Export and Domestic Editions which is noticeable; and stated that the Clowes 2nd state (although he does not prioritise it as such) was the same 'Blue-purple' as the Billing Domestic copy. I don't agree with the latter personally.

I think the Clowes-cloth 1st state is dark; the Billing copies do have a purple colour the Clowes-cloth lacks. But the Clowes-paper 2nd state is somewhere in between. After all, the two 'Blue-purple' jackets described by Hammond were both manufactured by two different printers; therefore a minor shade difference is not unlikely.

One other destinction I have always noticed (again it may be too subtle; and not consistent across all copies) is that the Clowes-cloth 1st state does not have the same shade of red lettering.

I know the lettering on the spine always fades; but the colour/shade of the lettering (if you ignore spines and examine front covers) is destinctly warmer I feel. Mabey my copy is faded slightly. Mabey the darker cover gives the illusion of a different shade of red. But looking at photos of copies (and scans) I can't help but think the Clowes-cloth jacket red is not so pillar box red as, say, the Billing copies (or even the Clowes 2nd impressions)...

Clear as mud!

Load more
Jump to Last