Acquisitions 2023

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Acquisitions 2023

tammikuu 1, 8:08 pm

Happy New Year
. . . and Happy Buying!

tammikuu 3, 3:43 pm

>1 maisiedotes:
Same to you, thanks!

I’ve started this Year of Buying No More Books by ordering two LECs: Death in Venice and Billy Budd/Benito Cereno. I’m sure that’s it for the year.

tammikuu 4, 7:58 am

>1 maisiedotes: >2 GusLogan: Happy New Year!

>2 GusLogan: Breaking the New Year's No More Books resolution as early as possible. I like it. Nice acquisitions.

I just received a copy of the LEC Metamorphosis (1984) after a 2 month journey to the UK. The binding is a bit drab compared with earlier LECs but it feels like a very solid and well made book. It came in the original shipping box (with the Gray Parrot Bindery stamp on the front), which was fun to see and experience.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 3:32 pm

Happy New Year!

I've received my Time Machine/War of the Worlds tonight at 9 PM! When the mailman gave me the package I imediately noticed how poorly the books were packaged and started hyperventilating. The slipcase was bubble-wrapped once and put in a tight box which looked damaged. However, I was saved by George Macy's ghost and even though the slipcase received a bump on the corner, both books are fine! There is some space between the top of the books and the top of the slipcase which may have prevented the worst. Shipping books from US to Europe is a pain.

Here it is, in a lovely company of Jan Van Krimpen's Psalms.

tammikuu 4, 3:34 pm

Waiting for Confessions of an English Opium-Reader, Brave New World and The Possessed. A relatively disconnected selection, but excited to receive all 3.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 4:41 pm

>5 bacchus.:
That’s a Freudian slip if I ever saw one! (An amazing book, congratulations!)

tammikuu 5, 2:07 am

>6 GusLogan: Oh wow, my subconscious has certainly started the year on a dark note - I’ll make sure to keep an eye within :) If worse comes to worst I’ll take it on a soma trip.

tammikuu 6, 12:53 pm

I just picked up a great copy of Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship by J.W von Goethe and completed my collection of The Evergreen Tales that contains Jeseph and His Brothers, The Story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp and The Three Bears.

tammikuu 7, 3:51 pm

I just started collecting and am addicted! Just got Sea Wolf, Camille (Laurencin), Notorious Jumping Frog & stories, Heart of Darkness, and Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

tammikuu 7, 5:11 pm

tammikuu 7, 6:41 pm

>9 Iggybedora: Enjoy the journey!

tammikuu 7, 8:41 pm

>9 Iggybedora: You have been turned to the Dark Side! Welcome to the crew!

tammikuu 13, 4:12 pm

Can anyone tell me what the material of the cover binding is of LEC The Man in the Iron Mask? It feels like maybe coated cloth?

tammikuu 13, 11:29 pm

>13 Iggybedora: The LEC bibliography describes it as "silk finished cloth," whatever that may be.

tammikuu 14, 5:20 am

>14 Glacierman: A surface or colour with a silk finish falls between the dull, non-shiny finish of matt materials and the bright and shiny finish of gloss materials.


It is non-shiny and shiny at once! So if finished with precision by a master, it would have the effect of destructive interference in wave theory. :)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 25, 9:45 pm

On the way is a nice copy of the LEC edition of Stevenson's The Beach of Falesá obtained at a very, very reasonable price.

I look forward to reading it.

tammikuu 26, 6:33 pm

>16 Glacierman:
A very beautiful edition. Congratulations!

tammikuu 27, 2:47 pm

Finally ordered Livy's History of Rome (LEC). Couldn't resist the low price.

tammikuu 27, 4:44 pm

In the process of building a "robust" HP collection. Added the following this month (all New York imprints).

Leaves of Grass
The Trial and Death of Socrates
Ferdinand and Isabella
The Master of Ballantrae
The Song Celestial (Bhagavad Gita)
Tartuffe / The Would-Be Gentleman
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
The Birds / The Frogs
Tales of the Gold Rush
Tales of Guy de Maupassant
Lives of the Most Eminent Painters
The Satyricon of Petronius
The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground

I don't look for (or keep) the slipcases, which helps.

tammikuu 27, 5:55 pm

>19 dprendergast: WOW! You must have found someone's secret stash.

I have an HP collection but few of the titles you named. Though I don't own Ferdinand and Isabella, I think it's beautiful.

Which ones are your favorites?

tammikuu 27, 6:32 pm

I can readily tell you favorite bindings, favorite illustrators, favorite authors/books. There are probably only a few that combine all of these (plus paper, type, size). THAT is a perfect book - a book I love to read that is beautifully produced in every respect. Three that come to mind: Salome, Beowulf, The Martian Chronicles.

But there are many where I love the binding (Journal of the Plague Year, Cape Cod, Penguin Island, etc.) or the illustrations (Fritz Eichenberg, Lynd Ward, Agnes Miller Parker, etc.). Not to forget the book itself (Boswell's Life of Johnson, Swann's Way, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Cloister and the Hearth, just about anything by Dickens, etc.).

And some (hopefully many) gems await, as I have probably only read about 1/2 of the 140 that I currently have.

Agreed about Ferdinand and Isabella - I bought it almost entirely because of the binding and illustrations. It's a lovely book. Same for The Trial of Socrates.

tammikuu 29, 2:52 am

I picked up The House of the Dead and am now close enough to owning all Eichenberg-illustrated LECs that I may actually go for it…

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 29, 9:45 am

>22 GusLogan: Do you have the Bronte pair he did for Random House? One of my all-time favorite book designs.

tammikuu 29, 12:44 pm

>23 dprendergast:
Moving the goalposts like that is just mean…. ;-)

tammikuu 29, 2:01 pm

The Random House Bronte set with Eichenberg's masterful woodcuts are one of my prides and joys of my collection. It's a bit of a shame Anne didn't get a matching volume, but she tends to be the one left out of these things.

tammikuu 29, 3:14 pm

>23 dprendergast: I’ve certainly considered it!

tammikuu 30, 6:14 am

It's so great that he depicted all the girls on the cover image of "Jane Eyre" with downcast eyes, EXCEPT ONE.

tammikuu 30, 9:22 am

Over the past several months I been collecting books in the "Poems of ..." series that LEC did in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I have editions of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, and Tennyson. (I believe LEC also did a Shakespeare and a Burns in this series, but I don't have those).

They are not an extravagantly luxurious set, but they are nonetheless excellent in their modest way. Each is quarter leather of varying colors with the title stamped on a label on the spine, and an effigy of the author embossed in black on the cover. They look gorgeous together on the shelf.

A few of them have noteworthy illustrations. The Blake images are rather familiar, at this point, but in this edition they are tipped in color plates, and so especially vivid. The color plates for the Wordsworth and Keats are very attractive. The Donne, although without color, has ingenious ornamentation on its pages (see a recent review of this book from abysswalker:

LEC went to some pains to have qualified academics in the field make the selections for these volumes, and the choices and layouts are outstanding, I think. Several of them have notes, but they are unobtrusive and almost always helpful.

On a side note, Easton Press did reproductions of most of these (I own a few), and, although the offset printing is not quite as sharp as the letterpress, they are rather good copies. In some cases EP even redoes the illustrations with new color choices.

tammikuu 30, 10:35 am

>28 Eumnestes: ...the "Poems of ..." series that LEC did...

The American Poets series and the British Poets series.

tammikuu 30, 11:02 am

>19 dprendergast: Great group! A few that I haven't found in the wild very often too. Congratulations!

tammikuu 30, 12:40 pm

American poets series are fully bound in leather, feature scholarly introductions and beautiful original illustrations, and nicely printed.
An outstanding value!

tammikuu 30, 1:10 pm

>23 dprendergast: I have this edition. My only gripe is that the paper quality could be better but the illustrations are beautiful.

tammikuu 30, 1:19 pm

>31 booksforreading: I've seen pictures of the LEC Whitman and Dickinson, but did not realize that they were part of a series. Do the books in this series share a recognizable template (cover design, title arrangement, etc.) like the British poet books share?

tammikuu 30, 2:27 pm

>21 dprendergast: "Agreed about Ferdinand and Isabella - I bought it almost entirely because of the binding and illustrations. . . . Same for The Trial of Socrates."

Now I want them.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 30, 2:54 pm

>33 Eumnestes:
Yes. They all have uniform designs, though the colors of bindings can vary from one title to another.

tammikuu 30, 2:58 pm

The American Poets: This started, in May 1943, as one of the Heritage Press exclusives, with the Poems of Longfellow illustrated by Boyd Hanna (who illustrated a famous edition of Leaves of Grass for the Peter Pauper Press (paupers can't afford this edition today!). The poems in the series were chosen, fittingly enough, by American poet/translater Louis Untermeyer. The series binding was plain beige cloth, with red and blue designs on the spine typical of the colonial period, and Warren Chappell designed the initial binding and the subsequent volumes essentially did variations on the spine decorations.

The later poets in the series were: Poe, Whittier, Emerson, Bryant, and Dickinson, each with an artist chosen to match the sensibilities of the poet. Note that these are all 19th century poets. Starting, I believe, with John Greenleaf Whittier, a Limited Editions Club edition was published with unique Limited Editions Club bindings, followed by, or simultaneous with, the HP American Poets edition.

Missing? The 800 lb. gorilla of American poets, Walt Whitman, who was given a unique HP treatment with illustrations by Rockwell Kent.

I find these HP "The American Poets" volumes to be one of their finest productions, and I have never replaced the ones which were available as LECs with their pricier counterparts.

tammikuu 30, 5:28 pm

>36 Django6924:
Thank you very much for this information!

tammikuu 31, 6:55 am

>36 Django6924: Thank you. I imagine in that case that the images I saw were HP books rather than LECs.

helmikuu 1, 5:37 am

I received a nice copy of Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (1972) to add to the LEC Tolstoy collection. I'm really impressed with the LEC's treatment of these Tolstoy titles. It feels like a great achievement of the Club to have produced four lovely editions in four different decades.

One day, I'd like to own the 1933 Anna Karenina too. I enjoy seeing how different artists tackle this wonderful novel.

helmikuu 1, 7:08 am

>39 GardenOfForkingPaths:
Those are stunningly well-preserved copies, congratulations!

helmikuu 1, 2:56 pm

>40 GusLogan: Thanks! Regrettably, one of the slipcases for War & Peace sustained a couple of knife slashes on the side from an overzealous customs officer. Fortunately, the books were unharmed!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 4:58 am

Just ordered The Martian Chronicles (LEC) after a lot of consideration. The price was very good - 195$. Too good to be true... The book was described by the bookseller as AS NEW but it isn't. Although the glassine wrapper is intact and in great shape, it doesn't cover the ends of the spine and they got sunned (the sunned area of both ends is very very small, though). From the photos I can't make out if the whole spine is also slightly sunned, despite (presumably) that the glassine was always on the book. The fact that the difference between the colour of the boards and the spine is little to none makes me feel better. This will only be my second book with a glassine. Those of you who have more experience with glassines, do they protect the book well from the sun?

All other copies of The Martian Chronicles that I can find are almost twice as expensive and the majority of them have at least moderately sunned spines. Charles Agvent has a copy without a slipcase for 300$ and there's also a recently listed one for 250$ in VG condition only, spine moderately sunned, so they claim. After thorough consideration, I've made a conclusion that I will never find a fine copy for ~350$ which I would be willing to spend as this is one of my favorite books and decided to purchase the above mentioned copy.

helmikuu 26, 11:28 am

>42 Lukas1990: Congratulations! It sounds like you purchased a copy in an excellent condition.
From my personal experience, all copies I purchased in glassine had significantly less light damage than books without glassine (with a few exceptions in both categories).

helmikuu 26, 3:56 pm

>42 Lukas1990:, >43 booksforreading: OK, here's an update. The seller acknowledged that the top 3/16” and the bottom 1/16” of the spine is badly sunned. There are also four pieces of paper stuck to one side of the slipcase that can't be removed. The seller also informed me that shipping would cost 87$ instead of 43$. And that was the last straw which made me cancel my order. I will be patient and wait for a better copy. It's inexcusable to describe such books AS NEW.

helmikuu 26, 4:48 pm

>44 Lukas1990: They're either ignorant or sleazy, probably ignorant.

helmikuu 27, 1:06 am

>44 Lukas1990:
I see it’s relisted on Abebooks and still described as ”As New”…

The shipping surcharge I think sadly you just need to accept these days for bigger books, unless buying on eBay.

You’ll get lucky eventually!

helmikuu 27, 2:31 am

There are many booksellers who find cheaper ways of shipping.

Here's the book in AS NEW condition. Beware!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 1, 10:05 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

maaliskuu 1, 3:01 pm

I've been on an LEC buying binge this year:

The Invisible Man
The House of Seven Gables
The Ballads of Robin Hood
Three Tales by Flaubert
Volpone - Ben Johnson
Julius Caesar the Gallic Wars
Three Men in a Boat
Penguin Island

and my favourite of the batch:
The Golden Bough

I need to stop for a while!

maaliskuu 1, 3:05 pm

>49 PartTimeBookAddict:
You can buy more as soon as you’ve read them all!

maaliskuu 1, 3:41 pm

>50 GusLogan: Ha ha. I know. Even worse, I forgot to mention two that I also just purchased: "Bel-Ami" and "Ethan Frome."

I'll have to rearrange my shelves soon.

maaliskuu 1, 4:23 pm

>49 PartTimeBookAddict: Of your list, I only own Volpone, but I adore it.

I need WAAAAY more help than rearranging my shelves.

maaliskuu 3, 6:58 pm

>52 maisiedotes: Yes. It is really handsome. I'll be reading it this weekend.

The "problem" with a lot of LECs is that they are too tall for my shelves. Volpone doesn't fit with the rest of my plays. I end up storing them together on my bottom shelves, unfortunately.

maaliskuu 5, 12:46 pm

First Notable acquisition of the year: The first book of the club, 1929 The Travels of Lemuel Gulliver. Complete with letter and prospectus(not pictured). In excellent condition. Has anyone else ever seen a glassine jacket age in this way? It almost looks like a snakeskin or something.
The instructions on this site for embedding pictures in the post were not working. Photos can be seen in my gallery.

maaliskuu 5, 1:18 pm

>54 PBB: If you are referring to the speckled effect, I believe that is how that glassine was made, with a heavier paper embedded in the lighter paper. It may show more as the paper darkened with age. Very nice copy.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 2:17 pm

>54 PBB:
I’m fairly sure I’ve read that the standard LEC glassine came after the first book (though possibly quite soon - apart from Gulliver I have only the Robinson Crusoe without glassine from the first series and I’ve never seen that with glassine). It may be the Gulliver’s jacket I’ve seen compared to butcher’s paper. (And of course several later LECs have more or less plain dustjackets.)

maaliskuu 5, 3:13 pm

>54 PBB: That copy is indeed in a remarkable condition. Congratulations for spotting it!

maaliskuu 5, 3:20 pm

>57 SebRinelli:
I should have said so as well - great acquisition! I think I saw it on eBay.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 5:54 pm

>56 GusLogan: Yes butcher's paper is pretty close to this. I take the glassine off my LECs (I save them of course), because if you ever want to take the book out of the slipcase I feel like its impossible without adding another nick or tear. This one I will leave on because of its better construction. Yes was from ebay

maaliskuu 5, 11:33 pm

>56 GusLogan: Looks like old baker's parchment to me. Added by a former owner?

maaliskuu 6, 1:03 am

>60 Glacierman:
I’ve both seen it before and read about it, so I think it’s original, but I am modest about knowing much about 1929 events!

maaliskuu 7, 12:59 am

My copy has the same wrapper--it is more like parchment--as Glacierman remarked--much heavier and more substantial than the fragile glassine most LECs were wrapped in.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 22, 10:20 am

Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter and Other Stories is a pleasant surprise from a not highly reputed LEC period. Other than the plain cover I like everything about this book.

maaliskuu 21, 4:06 pm

>63 BuzzBuzzard:

maaliskuu 21, 4:30 pm

>63 BuzzBuzzard: I have the Folio Society edition, but it only has two of these stories. I might have to upgrade to the LEC.

maaliskuu 21, 4:48 pm

>65 PartTimeBookAddict: which Folio edition do you have? The one I have (illustrated by the Balbusso twins) appears to have all 4 - but two of them are under different names (The Snowstorm and the Stationmaster). Although I don’t have the LEC, so I can’t confirm that those are in fact the same stories - I’m going off the similarities in the titles.

maaliskuu 21, 4:49 pm

>63 BuzzBuzzard:

Proof that the LEC's "worst" is usually still amazing by any standard.

maaliskuu 21, 4:57 pm

Just received my copy of the King James Bible - 1935-1936 (#1465.) No illustrations but the type set is crisp, the binding is perfect and a little damage to the slip cases. Not necessarily to read it but I wanted to add to my collection.

maaliskuu 21, 7:32 pm

My second "big ticket" LEC after the Shakespeare set: The Old Man and the Sea. I love the Shiff era LECs where earlier work of the artists/photographers is revisited and given such a high quality presentation, like this one and some of the Balthus books, Wuthering Heights and Cosi Fan Tutte. Those are next on my list.
Note: What looks like smudges is from my shoddy camera work, not flaws in the book. Bought from The Strand, who failed to mention the penciled in price in the description or show it in the additional photos I asked for. Maybe my fault for assuming they'd show that if it was there. Still extremely happy with it!!!

maaliskuu 21, 7:33 pm

>63 BuzzBuzzard: Beautiful book!!

maaliskuu 21, 8:19 pm

>66 jsg1976: I just have the one from the 70s with the blue boards.

The Balbusso edition is much nicer and gives the LEC a run for its money.

maaliskuu 21, 8:42 pm

>69 PBB: I also hate when booksellers pencil in price, catalog number, etc. I’ve found that most do it as a matter of course, with Oak Knoll being an egregious recent offender.

maaliskuu 21, 8:50 pm

>71 PartTimeBookAddict: The best edition of four Pushkin stories is definitely from the Allen Press, though the Allen’s included The Shot instead of The Postmaster.

maaliskuu 21, 9:12 pm

It has been a while since I’ve picked up any LECs but Rare Collections in Capetown had a great sale with lots of later Shiff era books at very good prices. I picked up The Sonnets to Orpheus illustrated by Balthus and The Man Who Planted Trees. The books just arrived and were as advertised and well packed. Good communication from the seller who even provided providence of the books. My only problems with the purchase is that the books are huge and I don’t know where I’ll shelve them.

maaliskuu 21, 10:21 pm

>74 kdweber: ...the seller who even provided providence of the books.

You mean provenance? Though, I am sure 'the protective care of God' or 'timely preparation for future eventualities' also apply :)

maaliskuu 21, 10:48 pm

>73 kermaier: Very handsome!

maaliskuu 22, 1:04 am

>75 mr.philistine: thank you iPad auto miscorrect

maaliskuu 22, 2:14 am

Just ordered what looks like a fine copy of Fahrenheit 451 (Limited Editions Club). Hope it arrives undamaged.

maaliskuu 22, 10:01 am

>72 kermaier: That's been standard practice in the antiquarian trade forever. The pencilling should be done lightly so it is easily erased by the buyer leaving no trace. It was a way to record purchase price (in code) as well as the selling price w/o using stickers, etc. Some folks use too heavy a hand with the pencil, however, and that is irritating.

maaliskuu 22, 12:50 pm

>79 Glacierman: Erasing with literally no trace is extremely difficult, even with a light hand on the pencil, particularly on highly textured papers. Longstanding practice or not, the seller is unequivocally damaging the book for their own convenience, and I cut them no slack. They should lay in a slip of paper with their notes, and remove it when the book is sold - period.

maaliskuu 22, 5:38 pm

>72 kermaier: My favorite local place does half their rare/collectible books in pencil, half printed notecards slipped into the book. Weird method to do both. With certain things I'll risk erasing them if its for my collection, and I'll always erase if its a gift, because my friends/family wont care about that flaw if I mess up, and best not to show prices on gifts I think

maaliskuu 23, 4:34 pm

>80 kermaier: First, understand I am not arguing with you! The reason for the penciling versus the paper slip was that the latter is easily separated from the book and lost.

For myself, I have never felt a penciled price to be a flaw unless applied with a heavy hand, and of those I have seen plenty. I would rather a penciled price than a sticker. We two have different standards, though, and what I find acceptable, you do not and that is just fine.

You are right, however, in that textured paper presents a problem.

maaliskuu 24, 11:13 am

>82 Glacierman: Sorry for being so obstreperous. I was just recently quite irritated with Oak Knoll, for having written their notes on the front a single-sheet specimen page from the Janus Press "Dr. Lao" -- not even hidden on an endpaper. To the purchaser, the book is a collectible artwork, no less than a painting or sculpture; to the seller it's just inventory. Obviously, it's more convenient for them to write on the book, rather than insert a slip of paper, but it's that very attitude of dismissing the customer's interest that gets my goat.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 24, 5:18 pm

I took advantage of the 30% off sale at Rare Collections and purchased 3 sci fi classics (Brave New World, Around the World in 80 Days, and The Mysterious Island), plus the complete Sherlock Holmes set - all LECs, all in very nice collectible condition. Very pleased!

I'm happy to post photos of the interiors as well, if there is interest - Christo sent me the photos & they do a wonderful job.

maaliskuu 25, 2:01 pm

One of the fastest arrivals from USA! Real beauty!

maaliskuu 25, 11:21 pm

>85 Lukas1990: Nice! That's on my want list!

maaliskuu 29, 11:51 am

>84 ChrisG1:
I covet those Sherlock sets! Great haul.

maaliskuu 29, 11:53 am

I just randomly checked eBay and found a NF copy of the LEC For Whom the Bell Tolls with a Buy It Now option at 75 USD! One of my very greatest coups. I almost accidentally bid on it instead of buying it…

maaliskuu 29, 12:14 pm

>88 GusLogan: Wow! Great find! Wonder, what these sellers are thinking :D

maaliskuu 29, 12:54 pm

>89 Lukas1990:
Looking at the other two listings on eBay I certainly would have put the BIN at 200+…

maaliskuu 29, 1:04 pm

>88 GusLogan: You scored. In a big way.

maaliskuu 29, 1:19 pm

>88 GusLogan: lucky devil!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 30, 9:44 am

>88 GusLogan: Wonderful - many congratulations! Definitely near the very top of my wishlist. I have only seen pictures but I love the look of the illustrations, which seem just right to me. I read this work for the first time a few years ago - an absolutely magnificent novel.

I'm interested to hear your impressions of the LEC when it arrives.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 30, 10:59 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

huhtikuu 18, 2:45 pm

The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (LEC) is on its way to Lithuania. Very excited about this one. The price is ridiculous compared to the production values.

toukokuu 2, 10:48 am

>95 Lukas1990: IMHO one of the LEC's finest productions. Congrats.

toukokuu 5, 6:57 pm

Been a busy two months! Been so active because of a combination of Christo at Rare Collections having a great sale, so I picked up the Bibliography from them, and a few eBay sellers accepting some seriously discounted offers I put in. All with the Monthly Letters. These are all works I've already read, so not giving myself a huge to be read pile by buying these. Particularly happy with the Baron Munchausen, and the first series prospectus in the marble boards, printed by John Updike. I sent WildcatJF scans of both versions of the first series prospectus and they should be in the drive soon. Some differences between the two. I've seen slightly nicer spines of Baron Munchausen, but I decided to get this copy because it was well priced and complete, with glassine, letter and prospectus.

toukokuu 6, 2:10 pm

>97 PBB: nice haul!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 11, 7:12 am

I took a punt on a "Fine" copy of the 1947 Mutiny On The Bounty + letter and prospectus for £20. Call me cynical, but given the low price and the tendency to spine disintegration with this title, I strongly suspected there was some artistic license in the description. It arrived yesterday and, apart from a small amount of light rubbing at the spine tips, it is in excellent shape. The slipcase is quite a sturdy example, covered in a sort of sailcloth, and with a soft lining.

I assumed the binding was sheepskin, but the Letter states that it is a goatskin morocco. Another one from this era (like Paul Bunyan, 1945) that despite being goatskin, has generally not held up well.

An attractive edition. However, in most cases, I think the Heritage Press edition, which uses the same binding design in cloth, is probably a safer bet!

toukokuu 11, 7:26 am

>99 GardenOfForkingPaths:
That’s the best copy I’ve seen for sure!

toukokuu 11, 11:59 am

>99 GardenOfForkingPaths: That's the best looking copy I've seen, and I have seen and handled quite a few over the last 25 years.

Calling it morocco is a pretty big stretch - sort of like Ricardo Montalban intoning about the Chrysler K-Car's "fine Corinthian leather" (oops...just dated myself). That binding disintegrates easily because it was made by combining bits of leather discards, sawdust and glue, reconstituting them under heat - then rolling out the new "skins". This was a common process during the war years due to material shortages. My guess is that this title was bound in just such "left over" material in 1947.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 11, 3:14 pm

>100 GusLogan: Me too. A complete fluke on my part to have acquired it. Broke my cardinal rule of buying a book without seeing a photo first!

>101 Sport1963: Wow. I knew it was probably low quality leather, but did not quite realise there was the process of reconstitution that you describe. Well, I guess I understand why they didn't put that in the Monthly Letter! :) The sawdust/glue definitely helps explain some of the extreme crumbliness of the leathers.

So have you been an LEC collector for 25 years? I'm curious how you find collecting has changed over that time. I guess accessibility to all the booksellers and auctions is easier now, but there's probably also more competition for the books?

Every year more of these books must fall by the wayside because of damage. 25 years ago was it much easier to find the earlier LECs in fine condition?

toukokuu 11, 3:28 pm

>102 GardenOfForkingPaths: "Wow. I knew it was probably low quality leather, but did not quite realise there was the process of reconstitution that you describe. Well, I guess I understand why they didn't put that in the Monthly Letter! :) The sawdust/glue definitely helps explain some of the extreme crumbliness of the leathers"

This material, sometimes called "composite leather" is still made today. The leather scraps are ground into a powder, mixed with a plasticizer and dye, and rolled out into sheets. The rollers can have a pattern on them which can mimic whatever type of leather you wish. In the case of the stuff I've used, it was given a morocco grain pattern, and while very durable, it is a bugger to work with and doesn't take tooling too well, as the surface is pretty hard. Also, due to its composition, you can't use wheat paste with it as you can with real leather. You are forced to used something else such as a PVA (poly-vinyl acetate) adhesive such as Jade 403 which remains flexible when dry. I don't recommend its use for fine bindings or press books. It is often used for mass-produced "leather bound" trade books because it is cheap and sturdy. Those earlier versions were not so good...the process was still being developed.

toukokuu 12, 5:01 am

>103 Glacierman: Very interesting, thank you. I had never considered how leather was actually reconstituted, but it makes sense that it would need to be ground down to a powder in order to get a uniform result. Some of the more modern reconstituted leather books I have handled do seem pretty tough and hard wearing. Why let the scraps go to waste, I guess.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 3:53 pm

>102 GardenOfForkingPaths: Thanks for the question GardenofForkingPaths. The short answer on LEC accessibility and condition today versus 25 years ago is: the sheer number of copies available has risen while the number of "collectible" copies in near fine or better condition has contracted. This is my anecdotal point of view, so some grains of salt should be applied by the reader.

Additional observations:
- The LEC highpoint titles have appreciated considerably over the last 25 years: the Joyce signed "Ulysses", the Lewis Carroll titles signed by Alice Hargreaves, and "Lysistrata". Collectible copies are expensive.
- There is also a dichotomy in the LEC market: On the one hand while some of the "tier-two" Macy era titles like the Weston-signed "Leaves of Grass" or the Steichen "Walden" have somewhat appreciated, most of the other titles can still be purchased for the same dollar amount (or sometimes less) than 25 years ago. Factor in that a 1998 dollar is worth about $1.86 today...well you can do the math. On the other hand is the key factor of condition. If one is quite particular about the book and its slipcase being as close to fine or near-fine as possible - be prepared to pay for that. Those copies are hard to find and have probably outpaced the 25-year rate of inflation.
- To the above point, I have upgraded some of my titles over the past several years and often paid less for the upgrade that the original. Patience and a good LEC network - being aware of extensive collections and getting to those collections before they appear on-line or are broken up by dealers or self-sellers on eBay has been key for me. Even so, cast a wide net - I acquired several first series titles from an eBay seller that are truly in Fine condition, some in the original shipping boxes that had only been opened to examine the contents. Very cool, but the exception, not the rule.
- Specialty collection areas boost prices: increased demand and short supply. Sherlockians, Arthurian, Sci-Fi, and Civil War literature specialist collectors bring additional price pressure to bear on those respective titles. That's one reason why titles like Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" command a premium.
- Top-tier Shiff era titles (post 1985): here is where there are some good values. Many of these titles are beautiful livre d'artistes with production values that rival or surpass any of the high end fine press productions of the last 15 years (with the exception of The Barbarian Press "Pericles"). You just cannot go wrong with titles like Mallarme's "Un Coup De Des Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard", Frank O'Hara's "Poems", or Anna Akhmatova's "Requiem".
- More Shiff values - I am also a big fan of some of the more modest Shiff productions like Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men", Mitchell's "Bottom of the Harbor", and Hersey's "Hiroshima". Decent prices, good production values.

To reiterate, the above is just this collector's point of view. I have seen and handled every LEC title (I own all but two of the LEC bibliography; "Our Grandmothers" and Jacob Lawrence's "The First Book of Moses, Called Genesis"), and very much appreciate how the full collection is a rather unique window into the evolution of fine press publishing from 1929-2010.

toukokuu 18, 4:20 pm

>105 Sport1963: Interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 5:34 pm

I looked at some photos of Un Coup De Des Jamais on the Limited Editions Club website...nice book production, but more brain-dead Rothko chapel style "illustrations." And I thought the "illustrations" for Ficciones were bad. What an incredible mismatch, a meticulous ascetic like Mallarme matched with some recyclable contemporary automata masquerading as an artist.

toukokuu 18, 6:19 pm

>107 MobyRichard: And perhaps the meticulous ascete Mallarme would argue that Kelly's work is precisely the kind of provocative art that his poetry was meant to inspire.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 19, 12:24 am

>108 Sport1963:

It's not provocative. It's yawn inducing. The provocative part is that the LEC would give anyone that much money to produce...whatever that is. That's the whole fraud of "contemporary" art. People go to see it b/c they can't believe people would shell out that much money for that kind of stuff. I'm not sure what the match would be his lifetime Mallarme was paid next to nothing and championed by no one, other than the random Paul Valery. If LEC had been around at the time (i.e. Mallarme's contemporary), they would have passed him right by.

toukokuu 19, 4:00 am

>109 MobyRichard: I am in complete accord with your assessment of that "art."

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 19, 4:47 pm

>109 MobyRichard: I would cross Beckett's "NoHow On" with Robert Ryman's etchings and Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" with Sean Scully's artwork off your list - they are in the same vein as Ellsworth Kelly.

On a related note, a young Count Harry Graf Kessler, founder of the Cranach Press, was an admirer of Mallarme's work while Mallarme was still alive.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 20, 2:20 pm

>105 Sport1963: Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience as a long-term collector. It must be so satisfying to have a 99.5% complete collection! I wish you the best for the last two (if you're going for the full set).

You've certainly given me a much more nuanced view of how the collecting landscape has changed. It's fascinating that many of the less sought-after titles are the same price or even less expensive than they were 25 years ago. I guess it makes sense as greater availability, accessibility, and competition between booksellers has probably pushed the prices of those books down.

Your experience with finding first series LECs in the original boxes sounds amazing! I'm taking on board what you say about having patience. Even in my few years of collecting I've found it's like mining for gold; often just individual nuggets here and there, but occasionally a rich seam will open up with a seller who has a number of LECs in truly fine condition at fair prices.

>107 MobyRichard: I'm wandering a bit OT here, but since you mentioned Ficciones, apart from the LEC do you know of, or can recommend any other fine press (or even just 'nice') editions of Borges works? I have the Folio Society edition of Labyrinths, which is quite nice.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 20, 8:43 pm

>112 GardenOfForkingPaths:

Look for Congress of the World, Franco Maria Ricci. It's kind of a large limitation but it is well printed on handmade paper. I remember one of the small fine presses did a Borges (Book of Sand maybe?). I can't remember which press. There's also some limited editions in Spanish.

I have also enjoyed collecting the hardcover trade editions, published by Dutton I think (I'm at a coffee shop right now and too lazy to check). Pretty solid bindings and paper for trade editions. And it's kind of interesting reading the disowned 'Norman Thomas di Giovanni' translations and wondering what exactly happened between him, Borges and Maria Kodama.

toukokuu 21, 5:12 am

>113 MobyRichard: Thank you!

The Ricci Congress of the World looks great.

After a bit of digging, I think the fine press Book of Sand you mentioned must be the one by Nawakum Press (reviewed here on Books and Vines). Looks like a wonderful and typically well thought out book. But, even if one of the 24 copes ever became available, I think it would be one for me to admire from afar!

It's a shame the rights situation with the Borges estate is so difficult. The short stories are so strong and surely lend themselves to beautiful letterpress editions with imaginative illustrations.

toukokuu 22, 10:34 pm

Very pleased with this excellent copy of The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters. Books and jackets are excellent except the wrinkle on Volume 1 jacket. Does that even count as a flaw? Top panel of the slipcase is loose but I'll be having a local binder repair it. Normally I read my LECs but I'm going to read the HP version of this because the volumes are just so flawless. I now have four Officina Bodoni books, and am so impressed with each of them. Unfortunately their collaborations with the LEC are books I'm just not too interested in so I probably won't be adding more anytime soon.

toukokuu 22, 11:13 pm

>115 PBB: Nice. I’m missing the dust jackets. The last of the Stamperia Valdonega books for the LEC. What are your three other Mardersteig books?

toukokuu 22, 11:51 pm

>116 kdweber: Only three total actually. I have two copies of The Toilers of the Sea, Imaginary Conversations, and The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters. When I did a spreadsheet filter Toilers was in there twice and I didn't realize. Toilers was the second LEC I bought, and I didn't realize it came with a jacket originally so I ended up buying another copy. Not a novel I enjoyed but its a wonderful production

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 23, 1:43 am

>117 PBB: Toilers is very susceptible to a broken binding, what’s the condition of your copies? I have to confess that my copy was purchased very cheaply because of the broken binding which I then repaired. As nice as the LEC is, I prefer the Folio Society LE. I bought the LEC with the intent to attempt a binding repair and because I wanted to have a copy of all the Mardersteig LECs (Officina Bodoni and Stamperia Valdonega).

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 24, 4:46 pm

I think a lot of complaints about the livres d'artistes of the late-LEC era are to be expected. LEC went from a series devoted to traditionally illustrated classic texts to much more expensive, more contemporary volumes that clearly fall in with the standard approach to the livre d'artiste in the late 20th century. In short: Two completely different audiences, and the overlap in those audiences is a small sliver of the Venn diagram. Add in the fact that LEC followed that traditional illustrated book model for the overwhelming majority of its output, and you can see why several of these books have not gone OOP.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 3, 7:18 pm

Find of a lifetime: $800 for Our Grandmothers. This was on ABEbooks and wasn't a new listing so I'm so surprised I managed to pick this up. Has the letter too.

kesäkuu 4, 1:39 am

>120 PBB: Great price! Looks to be in perfect condition as well, congrats.

kesäkuu 4, 4:45 am

>120 PBB: I will call the police, because that's a steal! A robbery! Congrats!

kesäkuu 4, 11:32 pm

>120 PBB: Smoking hot deal. Congrats, you paid a fraction of its market value.

kesäkuu 5, 1:20 pm

>120 PBB: What do you think of the paper in Our Grandmothers? The only other book I'm aware of that's printed on HMP Papermills handmade is Venus and Adonis from the Pyracantha Press.

kesäkuu 5, 4:03 pm

>124 kermaier: Not very experienced with many books from this LEC era or comparable ones from other presses and I'm not sure how to describe papers. This one to me feels both very soft and very sturdy at the same time.

I can't find much about HMP. There's an Indian company with the same name. Seems like they printed some Ellsworth Kelly images and the owners are/were John and Kathleen Koller.
They also made the paper for the text of "incorporating bits of Russian newspapers with the rags and cotton pulp"

Shame I can't find more about them because they definitely did some cool and unique work from the little I could find.

The box is bumped on the corner and it was not packed professionally and has some debris from the shipping box on the top but I've been able to almost entirely clean that off. But its done its job, the book is pristine.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 6, 2:56 pm

>125 PBB: HMP was the handmade paper operation of John Koller, who learned papermaking in the late 1960s from Laurence Barker, a professor at Cranbrook who taught papermaking after an introduction to Douglas Howell's handmade paper. (Barker also taught Walter Hamady, who made his own paper for ~40 years.)

HMP largely produced specialized handmade papers that were often used in intaglio art printing and artist's books. One of their famous connections is with Kenneth Tyler, a world class printer (Gemeni G.E.L. and Tyler Graphics), printing with artists including Rauschenberg, Sam Gilliam, Frank Stella, and Ellsworth Kelly too. There's a fair number of fine press books utilizing their papers, but not a lot.

It has been a while since I last read-up on HMP, but I do not remember any connection to India. Nor do I recall HMP making paper for large-scale use; it was a pretty small, artist-focused operation, often making paper in concert with the printer's designs. They may have produced some pulp paper designs as well, but I could be confusing them with some of Claire van Vliet's collaborators.

HMP papers are quite beautiful. I've never handled Our Grandmothers, but I have seen My Sister Life, and while the inclusions in that paper are probably over-the-top for most fine press collectors, it is right up my alley.

Muokkaaja: Tänään, 3:16 am

I just placed an order for The Count of Monte Christo for 125 bucks NF, which is a good deal even with expensive shipping! Very fond of its ”sibling”, Les Mis.

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