• <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. Sept. 21, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> WARREN, JOSEPH. Letter Signed ("Jos Warren") as Chairman of the Committee of Safety. Cambridge, MA, June 4, 1775.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> WHITMAN, WALT. Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn, NY: [for the Author], 1855.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Printed Broadside Signed ("Th: Jefferson") as Secretary of State. Philadelphia, February 12, 1793.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> CELLINI, BENVENUTO. 1500-1571. Autograph Letter Signed ("Beto. Cellini"). [Florence, c.1566].
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. Sept. 21, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph Manuscript. [c.1795].
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> DICKENS, CHARLES. Great Expectations. London: Chapman and Hall, 1861.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> REED, JOHN. To the Honourable House of Representatives of the Freemen of Pennsylvania this Map of the City and Liberties of Phiadelphia With the Catalog of Purchasers is Humbly Dedicated.... [Philadelphia]: engraved by James Smit
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> ELIOT, THOMAS STEARNS. The Waste Land. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Announcing the Fall 2016 Auction Season
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b> Autographs
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 18:</b> Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 10:</b> 19th & 20th Century Literature
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 8:</b> Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Colored Plate Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 17:</b> Printed & Manuscript Americana
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 1:</b> Art, Press & Illustrated Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 29:</b> Illustration Art
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 3:</b> Old Master Through Modern Prints
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2006 Issue

Identifying First Editions: The Fascination of Points of Issue

1points

McBride's Points of Issue is a very good reference work for 19th- and 20th-century literature.


This can get a little crazy when no differentiation is made, for example, among cloth colors that change during the same printing run. In that case, you might find that a collector prefers the earlier cloth color, even though "technically" both represent the first edition.

First editions can notoriously masquerade under what might seem low-value books, such as book club editions, or cheap, mass-market paperbacks, so you really have to know what you're doing in order not to throw away potentially valuable books, or sell them too cheaply to those in the know. Science fiction and poetry firsts can frequently be found in softcover format, although these are not usually subject to an investigation of points.

The collection of points of issue and their publication into reference works is hardly a done deal, but instead is an ongoing process. There are works covering centuries, as well as works targeted to specific authors. For example, Bill McBride's Points of Issue, a general work covering literature of the nineteenth and twentieth century (www.mcbridepublisher.com) $12.95, is now in its third edition.

Specific authors (usually prolific authors) who have received attention for their points include standards like Jules Verne and Charles Dickens. Determining a Verne first edition can be particularly problematic. We recently published a new, expanded edition of Jules Verne: A Collector's Bibliography of First Editions & Printings in English, Harwich Port: Clock & Rose Press, 2004) that contained many emendations and expansions of Edward and Judith Myers's classic 1988 work. Verne published the same works under different titles; the points that determine a first edition cover the spectrum of possibilities. The designation of some firsts are still the subject of ongoing arguments among Verne collectors and scholars.

The standard for Dickens points in cloth editions is the two-volume Charles Dickens in the Original Cloth by Walter Smith (Los Angeles: Heritage Book Shop, 1932). Smith notes the difficulty of identification in a paragraph designed to give any bookseller a headache: "The state of the text and plates of the novels originally published in parts often varies in volume-bound cloth copies. Generally the publication in book form was made up from the last-printed sheets of text and plates. Sometimes parts of the earliest state purchased in installments were submitted for binding in publisher's cloth. Copies also exist with a mixture of early and later states. Cloth variants also reflect different states of text and plates. Portions of a copy occasionally are bound from the parts and portions from later printings. Different combinations are not unusual, therefore, and may also be found in bindings other than those in original cloth. Such a lack of consistency therefore renders it difficult to analyze and isolate date and promulgate incontestable statements about Dickens in the original cloth. A further grievous circumstance is that many extant copies in original cloth have been tampered with."

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, Chicago, 1968). <i>Collection of papers of John M. Bailey, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, concerning the convention</i>. Various places, 1968.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (ARMSTRONG, NEIL.) VERNE, JULES. <i>A Trip to the Moon.</i> New York: F. M. Lupton, September 9, 1893. Signed by Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.

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