Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nancy Drew Book Club Editions with a Possible Anomaly

I purchased a bulk lot of Nancy Drew books which arrived today.  The books are a mixture of early picture cover books with some book club edition picture covers.  This is what I received, which have not been placed in order.

The books are generally in nice shape, although some are in rough condition.  The books smell like new books.  They smell quite nice, so they must have been kept somewhere that prevented the books from taking on an old book smell.  This is quite unusual for books that are 45 to 55 years old.

I love purchasing bulk lots, because this is how I have acquired most of my printing anomalies.  As I pull the books from the box, I always check each book for anything that appears different.  One copy of Blackwood Hall has the Tandy art matched with the revised text.  I already have one, but this one is much nicer.  I will have to keep both my copy and the new one, since my copy is an earlier printing even though in worse shape.

The lot also contains a Ski Jump PC where the red on the front cover doesn't look right, similar to the one pictured in this post.  I will have to compare the two books to see how different they are.

The lot contains quite a few of the Nancy Drew book club edition picture cover books. Most of them are in pretty nice shape.  I will have to make certain that none of them are better than my copies.  I still have just a few that need to be upgraded.

As I looked at the book club editions, I suddenly realized that four of them have ink on the top edge.  This is quite strange.

My first thought was that some text blocks for the regular edition were bound in the book club edition bindings.  However, all four state "Book Club Edition" on the title page, so that doesn't explain it.

My next thought, which is the most likely explanation, is that the original owner colored the top page edges with marker.  I set out to prove that this is the case, since it just about has to be the explanation.

I found my Nancy Drew book where I know that someone colored the top page edges with marker.  That book has smudges all through the book near the top edge that were caused from the marker application.

The above book is the book from this post.  By the way, the seller of the above book always uses marker on the books she sells.  I wish she didn't do that.

Back to today's book club editions.  The four books show no sign of smudging like the above book.  I then looked at the top edge of each fore edge to see how much ink has bled down.  They have a small amount.  I decided to compare them to other early picture cover books in my possession that did not come from this lot.  In the below picture, the four book club editions with ink on the top edge are the four books at the left.  The remaining six books are regular editions that are early picture cover books. Hollow Oak was placed on top to force the camera to focus.

Some of the six books to the right actually have slightly more ink bleeding down than the four book club editions do.

My results are inconclusive, but I found no evidence to indicate that the owner used marker on those four books.  On the other hand, I have to assume that marker was carefully applied even though the top edges look identical to the regular editions with ink on them.  However, if marker was applied, the person who did it managed to match the color exactly.

Here is one last photo, showing the four book club editions to the left and four regular editions to the right.  If the ones on the left were colored on top by hand by someone, they did an awful good job of making the books look like they came from the bindery that way.

Have any of you ever found Nancy Drew book club edition picture cover books that have ink on the top edge?

1 comment:

David Morris said...

Yes, though not Nancy Drew.

But I will add that I've never seen a top stain (or edge stain if all edges are treated) in black.

Olive, red, crimson, yellow, a medium green, aqua and other similar shades of blue (some of which are most certainly from fading). Even Navy from time to time. And of couree "gold" which is usually not unless it's a fine press like Easton or Franklin Mint.

Often these stains will be a printing point. Grosset did use stains from time to time, earlier more often than later.

I've also see "bleeding" from the staining process. Especially with cheap pulp papers.

Usually the text block is sanded along the edge(s) before staining and then passed under the marking brush on the production line. The light sanding allows for faster and more uniform pickup (application) of the dye.

Stains were applied to give the book a better chance of escaping dust stains as it sat on a shelf for years.

I offer no opinion on the four books shown here.

I will only add that the red in the linked photo appears much like uranium oxide reds in ceramics. Whether it was used as a pigment in inks is a question requiring research.