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Re: First Editions

At 05:47 PM 3/11/98 -0600, you wrote:
>Hello all,
>I've been wondering about this for some time and the discussion of ISBNs
>has reminded me--I hope it's not too far off topic. How does one
>ascertain if a book is a first edition? There appears to be numerous
>ways--or at least no standard way.
>David Kern

Ah, now here's a question book collectors and dealers have been puzzling
over for years.  The best answer?  Experience!

Your right, there's no standard way; it differes from publisher to
publisher, sometimes from book to book.  One publisher might put "First
published 1996" on the verso of the title page; another might rely on the
printing numbers (those little lists like "10 9 8 7 6 ..." - if "1" isn't
there, it's not a first); other publishers (mostly in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries) use a specific printers device only on their firsts.

Bibliographies, works like the Ahern's _Collected_Books_, and just plain
looking at a lot of firsts, all help to identify what you've got.  Caveat
emptor, folks.  -- Susan

Susan Ravdin
Special Collections
Bowdoin College Library
3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421
tel: 207-725-3288
fax: 207-725-3083

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