Thursday, June 24, 2010

Collecting First Editions 101 - Part 2

I have a list of definitions of condition and book collecting terms on a special "custom" page in my eBay store. The page has a list of
terms on it. You can visit and look through it at will - no obligation and all that. It will help you with some of the more "professional" sellers on eBay or Amazon or anywhere.

Here's part 2 of figuring out if a book is truly a First Edition or not:

Publishers used a variety of methods to note that this book was their First Edition - not always consistent and not anyway consistent across the industry so here's a list of the things I've seem (but you have to buy the McBride book I talks about on the previous post to see who used what method.
Here is a list of some additional designations that were used:
  1. Colophon - on the page of information at the back of the book... some designation that it was the first edition - typically in my experience a sentence to that effect.
  2. Copyright page (will have a notation FIRST EDITION) - sometimes FIRST AMERICAN EDITION - which means the REAL first edition was published in some other country. A lot of mine are published first in the UK.
  3. FIRST PUBLISHED - same as First Edition as long as there's no list there of additional editions
  4. First Impression or First Printing  - on the back of the title page with no additional printings listed.  For instance, the edition of THE CAINE MUTINY that I have listed on eBay right now says 14th Printing. Because some folks want the FIRST of everything, they also want not just the First Edition but the First Printing (or impression) so some publishers will say 2nd printing or 3rd printing. Not all do this though. (a whole OTHER blog post)
  5. Letter Line  - a sequence of Alphabetic letters. Typically starts at A and works up (usually about 10). The first letter denotes the First Edition so if the A is missing, you don't have a first edition in your hands.
  6. Number line - same concept starts with 1 goes to 10 normally and if the 1 is missing and the line starts with 2, you have a SECOND edition not a first on your hands.
  7. Same Date - early on in the 20th century some publishers put dates on title pages (some still do) but a First edition was denoted by the SAME date being put in the back of the title page. So if it said 1887 on the title page (mine have all be at the bottom of the page or right above or below the publisher's name), then the First Edition said 1887 on the back of the page too.  If it says 1888 or 1901 then it's not a first edition.

Now the main problem I have with this system is, it ain't really a system. Each publisher just does what they want. So if they want to join the 21st century I think the ABBA or the Copyright Office of the Government is going to have to enforce some standardization so "we" the buying public, many of whom are fascinated by First Editions, even obsessed with them can figure it out easier. So companies like eBay & Amazon & Biblio, who use standardized catalogs for booksellers to list with, can set up some filtering in the catalogs and stop all the carp from being listed as a First Edition when it's really a 2nd,3rd or 25th edition.

And BTW there are companies like "THE FIRST EDITION LIBRARY" which is NOT a library but a publishing company who produce a FACSIMILE copy of First Edition books... it's not a real first edition folks. It's a copy.  And it says so right on it in multiple places. So if you buy one of them, and it said in the listing FACSIMILE COPY, don't you dare ding the seller cause YOU made a mistake. Hear me??

Friday, June 18, 2010

How to Start Collecting First Editions or Not

First of all, let me tell you my opinion of First Edition Collections.  NOT WORTH THE TIME! And especially if you're collecting 20th or 21st Century Modern Fiction. 

Why you ask (you did ask, right?) Well because the other 20 million of us who bought the same books as First Editions, put the Dustjackets in to mylar covers and squirreled them away, do not need any more competition.  Seriously though, everyone is collecting "signed" first editions from people like Janet Ivanovich and Stephen King and....and....

The charm of Signed editions used to be that NO one else had one.  So what is the point if everyone else has one??  There's reduced monetary value some times to the point of worthlessness. The signature from some authors would be worth more if you cut it out of the book and framed it with something else of interest. Like a postcard.  That's my 2 cents... not worth much be it.

Now if you still want to start collecting these then get yourself some reference material.

The first book I bought and I still use a later edition of it was A Pocket Guide to the Indentifications of First Editions by Bill McBride. And it really is a pocket guide. It's not very expensive either so you can easily but one for your purse or one for the glove compartment of each car.

Here's how you use it - open the book you're contemplating buying, and look at the copyright page. Who is the publisher? Now flip to the publisher's name in the McBride Guide - it will tell you how the publisher normally identifies their first editions.  Here are a couple of examples of the designations:

Col - Colphon - page of information about the book usually found at the back of the book (blog author's note - more often in older books in my experience)

CP - Copyright Page
FAE - words FIRST AMERICAN EDITION must appear on the back of the title page with no additional printing indicated.

Now every publisher listed has a designation like one or more of these to indicate how they designated their first editions so Ziff-Davis UK says FPu(y) - FPu  translates to "words First Published must appear on the back of the title page with no additional printing  and the y means a year following any other identification method so for a Ziff Davis UK published book to be a "True First" the minimum would have to be, on the copyright page it will say FIRST PUBLISHED Sept 1986 (or just 1986). 

More tomorrow (yeah I'm gonna milk this for a few days, I'm in the #blog30 challenge and I'm days I'm gonna use this one for while. LOL )

Down below is a widget with a sideshow that has the McBride book in it. If you click onthe picture it will take you to that book on Amazon and you can buy it.  Be nice and buy one for your friend, husband, wife, son, daughter or book buying buddy.  In Full Disclosure, the theory is I get referral money from amazon if you do. In reality? it's never happened yet.  

Summer Reading on Amazon

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Collecting Skeletons..well not really...Genealogy today

I got started  in family history because of my love of history in general and because I could nver understand how come "they" had such a big family and we had this small nuclear bunch.... (they being anyone who had more than 6 cousins and 4 aunts).    Since I'm still "collecting skeletons" and I'm as compulsive about this as "The Compulsive Collector" is about his books, trading cards, postcards, coins, fish, autographs etc, I figured I'd post this today.  I just sent it to Rootsweb to the Manning mailing list so you might see it there too.  It's "part" of the story of my mother's family. 
My maternal Great-Grandmother was Marcella Bridget Manning -
daughter of Michael Manning and Sarah.

She died in 1905 at 40 years old leaving 5 daughters under the age of 18
parentless (her husband James Forrester had died in 1897 when the youngest was
not yet born). She had married James in April of 1888 in Scranton Pa but died
in Wilmington De.

Marcella was one of several children of Michael Mannion and Sarah Manning (they seem to have switched spellings at will or just ahead of the bill collectors or was it one step ahead of the the law?).  She and Michael are on a ship's log as coming here in 1880. Then I lose her until she marries in Scranton, Pa in 1888.

Marcella had one sister Elizabeth who married Patrick Canavan (who
witnessed James Forrester's citizenship application) but  there was also what I assume is a brother, Henry Manning ,who 60-70 years ago or more was in Wilmington, De. Two other sisters were Margaret Mannion married but name unknown and Frances Mannion, allegedly married to John McHale and was for many years postmister of Lahardane in County Mayo, according 
to my great aunt Frances (Forrester daugher of Marcella). (no dates on any of 
these and not independently verified yet).

When Marcella died in 1905 she left 5 daughters: her oldest daughter, my great
aunt Annie S Forrester was about 14. She and Frances (#2 and 2 years younger)
were put into service (maids?) by their aunts. WHICH AUNTS?? WHERE??

Elizabeth the 3rd daughter was sent to boarding school in Baltimore briefly. In
1916 - 7 she married Joseph Bradley my grandfather and had 3 children before
dying of "tuberculosis of the intestine" in 1924.

Marcella II who was 10 was sent to a convent to become a nun and died in 1911 at about 12-14 years of age. I don't have her birth certificate but I have her
interment info from the cemetary/family plot.

Margaret Forrester, the youngest who would have been only 8 when her mother Marcella I died must have been sent to the same convent or board as one of her sisters. When she was alive I hadn't started collecting the family skeletons so I never thought to
ask her. She died in 1967 after a life-long battle with Parkinson's disease.  She spent a lot of years working at Whitman Chocolates factory here in Philadelphia and we loved getting Whitman's samplers from her.  She was also the one who gave us Silver Dollar coins that she bought at coin shops for us.  (maybe my sister still has hers but I think we all "spent" them as kids or young people...didn't save them at all)

Aunt Annie Forrester lived to be 83  and spent a good part of her life in Hemstead NY where she worked at some military cafeteria for pennies. She died in 1972, in Philadelphia.  She and  Aunt Frances who died in 1980, had bought houses several doors apart on West 53rd St  in West Philadelphia.  They spent at least 10-15 years there in the late 50's and early 60's. 

Aunt Frances Forrester was quite the "looker" in her younger days and worked as a buyer for Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia in the China and glass dept (wonder where I inherited my love of porcelain, glassware and china from?).  In the early 1950's she went to work for "The Women's House of Correction" in Philadelphia as a matron.  (she was a jail guard).  She was the kindest, most loving person but she brooked no nonsense even from the criminal ladies in her care.  (and my mom used to say bad enough I find out you did anything, God Help You if Aunt Frances gets her hands on you).. She lied to get jobs as a young girl, making herself older to qualify so when she was 60 she had to keep working for 10 years because her employer thought she was 50.   Til she was 75+ she had her hair died a lovely auburn red and dressed quite elegantly even when she retired and was just "around the house" all day.  She was the one who told us we could be anything we wanted, if we just tried hard enough.

My great aunts were all remarkable women who, other than my Grandmother
Elizabeth, never married but they all helped raised Elizabeth's children after she died. My dad joked that he was the only man to get married and end up with 3 mother-in-laws.

SO the particular  collection of skeletons I'm looking to complete are the Manning/Mangan  aunts and their grandparents. If anyone has any info or and if you're related, I'd love to hear from you.

Next time I'll tell you about the "other" side of the family.  War heros and all.

Beth Donahue Cherkowsky

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Real or Repro Part 2 - the answer!

Kudos to CatLadyCate of CatladyCate's Rlegant Glass on Tias and ebay for knowing that the telltale (well one of the telltale) hints is the knob on this green Sharon "dish".   The knob on the original "butter dish lid" was so close to the lid that you really couldn't get your fingers in there to hold it well if you grabbed it by the knob.   On this one, even klutzy me could.

But this is actually a "fake" Cheese dish. I say Fake because  it was privately produced in 1976. And there are more "clues".  The reason I call it a "fake" cheese dish is the bottom.   The bottom of this is wrong - it's about 1/2 way between flat and a salad plate with a rim of glass to hold the top in place. This rim is  thicker and holds the lid in the circle better.  Well that's not how the original butterdish was. And while rumors abound of an ORIGINAL amber cheese dish, none have been reported.  The original butterdish bottom has just a slight indentation and the lids "slid" around more...which accounts for how few survived in mint condition or even how few just survived in any condition.

And further if you look closely at the picture I put here, you can see the "join" where the side  meets the patterned top.  See how thick the "seam" is at the top of the side? The original flows over without that definitive line of thick glass

So what do I recommend?? Well Gene Florence includes a definitive "REPRODUCTIONS" section in his Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass.  And he expands it as he gets wind of new reproductions.   So I keep a copy of the current editon on hand for reference.

Thanks for playing along, come back soon.  I'm sure I'll think of something to write about.  Maybe the Iris and Herringbone reproduction tumblers.. if I can remember where I put them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Real or Repro? This is my #blog30 post for today

Ok, now that I've alarmed you, I mean reproductions or imitations of REAL antiques and collectibles.  Depression Glass is rife with them but so are other categories of thing like Head Vases, Oil Laps, and books.

So here are a couple of Depression Glass things as an  example because if I can be can anyone. (not that I'm so smart but I have the real Compulsive Collector here to help me sort them out).  I sell Depression Glass on eBay so I should know a little about it, especially since I've been collecting it personally for like 35 years. BUT it just proves even veterans can be fooled.

In Depression Glass, I collect Blue Royal Lace.  Guess what's reproduced there?? The tumblers.  In Pink Cherry blossom the shakers..(I mean come on, there were only 3 known to have been made, and you think you found a set in the fleamarket for 3 dollars?   Think about that??   BUT the "repro people" also reproduced the shot glasses

Madrid, which I spoke about in an earlier post was "reissued" by the company that bought Federal's molds as well as by Federal itself, in 1976 and marked.  So look for the 76 in the design (around the border).

This is a cookie jar bottom I bought after about 10 years out of the collecting aspect because I thought it was a "newly discovered" color.  Yea ..not !!

Ok, so why should I have known it was wrong?? Because, Mayfair (which made this pattern) did not make a cobalt blue like this.  and the pattern on this one is spread...see the 2nd picture? see how the flower is spread out? well that's typical of when a mold is made of a real pattern item and then used to remold into new pieces never made or to use reproduced molds to make colors never produced.  AND besides that cobalt blue, which is what made me drool over this is way way too intense. This cobalt blue is more typical of that era .

(sorry it's small but it's all I have at the moment) but see how much more transparent and translucent it is?

The piece below is a Green Sharon piece - Sharon was made by Federal glass but THIS is not real. There are two things that should have tipped me off...see if you can figure it out and I'll tell you tomorrow ... (post your guess in your comments.

Ok - don't forget to submit your guesses as to "how" to identify this one as real or repro...

Below is a peice seen at a local event and IT's FAKE and this person (after more years in the business than me) should have known it was NOT genuine. ... (the blue one in the middle I mean. )

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trading Cards did not start with Pokemon!

Contrary to what my 7 year old nephew believes, collecting, and trading, TRADING CARDS did not begin nor will it end, with Pokemon cards.  In fact, Pokemon is the natural heir of the category. But cards have been collected for a long long time.  The proof is in the pudding so to speak, The first grouping of cards are "HORRORS of WAR" cards from a set produced in the late 1930's

This next set was also produced in the 1930-40 era. It's called "Scoops" but could have been called "Ripped from the Headlines" It consists of pictures that embody the headlines of the era. This one is the sinking of the Morrow Castle. It went down within site of shore with 137 people lost.

The next 4 cards are from a series called alternately SPACE CARDS or TARGET MOON and were based on the Sci-Fi of the 40's and 50's.
And the 50's 60's is represented by Trading cards from TV shows like Wagon Train, Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel -

Non-Sport Trading careds as they are referred to these days continue to be a healthy collectible and the assortment available includes Tv shows, Movies and autographed versions.  The value of the cards shown here is not high dollar-wise (they average $3-4 for these sets.. SOME go higher but not most) but putting together a complete set, requires some diligence and effort.  So pick your favorite show, or movie and start collecting.