Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2006 Issue

A Review of Bill McBride's E-First Edition Guide

Circle

Useful software for identifying first editions from publisher Bill McBride.


by Renée Magriel Roberts

Having reviewed Bill McBride's latest edition of A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions in book form in AE Monthly, I was pleased to see a new version (taken from the Sixth Revised Edition) of the Guide in software format. Since I am glued to my computer whenever I'm doing data entry, it seemed useful to have the Guide in its own window, ready to answer questions about whether or not a particular book is indeed a first edition.

Like its paper cousin, the E-First Edition Guide is organized around an alphabetical listing of publishers. As software, this publisher list is searchable by typing all or part of its name. The E-Guide uses the same abbreviation scheme as the printed book, which does take getting used to; however, by mousing over the definition, the full explanation is revealed. Since each publisher not only comes up with its own scheme for defining its first editions (and sometimes no scheme at all), and is not consistent within its own publishing history, a guide such as this is invaluable for figuring out when a book is actually a first.

The search function will also pick out a string of letters within a name. Searching for "Wood," for example, will display a list of publishers starting with that word, such as Wood & Holbrook, but then will also find the same string within a word, such as "Arrowood Press". It's important to note that this publisher list (in both the book and the E-Guide) is not comprehensive. So if you are in doubt you may have to do further research by looking at cues within the book itself, such as the typography of the number or letter line of printings, dated introductions and prefaces correlated with publication dates, advertisements of other works which can place the book after others are published, peculiarities of the dustjacket (understanding that a jacket and book may be "married" from different sources), reliable bibliographies, and of course the collected wisdom of fellow dealers on other antiquarian sites.

First issue points, the subject of McBride's other work (still in print form), can also pinpoint a first edition in major nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors. To McBride's credit, he actively solicits corrections and additions to the work, which is why it is now in its sixth edition, both in print form and in the E-Guide. We would all benefit from active collaboration in this work, so as you explore some of the smaller publishers who have not made it into the E-Guide I encourage you to contact McBride with information to update his work. An online suggestion form on McBride's site would benefit everybody -- such as the one Amazon is now using to create Marketplace listings, as well as to amend them.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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