Wednesday 6 March 2013

Saki Sighting: Another rare dust jacket surfaces online

As any readers of this blog will know, few things tend to make me more giddy than an old Saki dust jacket that I've not seen before.

As a collector of all things H. H. Munro (and if you're not familiar with this writer best known for his Oscar Wilde/P. G. Wodehouse meets The Mighty Boosh short stories, just take 10 minutes to read 'Sredni Vashtar' or  'Tobermory'), I have previously become inordinately excited by the discovery of dust jackets — and rather wonderful pictorial dust jackets by noted artists at that — for Beasts and Super-Beasts and The Unbearable Bassington.

Now a copy of his second novel, the Germans-Invade-England satire (or rather call-to-arms, since it was published in 1913) When William Came, has turned up on ABE, complete with DJ. It's a fourth edition, which at first I dismissed as the first printing of the book in the smaller format, collected edition of Saki's work, all of which have quite scarce, but fairly boring text-only jackets, but now I've seen the photo with the listing, I realise it's a later printing, in blue cloth rather than the original red, of the larger format first edition. The design isn't as eye-catching as the ones previously featured here, but it's nonetheless another exceptionally rare survivor.

My heraldry isn't up to much, but I think that's a nicely apt mash-up of the United Kingdom and German coats of arms.

It's a shame about the extensive chipping and loss to the jacket, and at the £65 it's listed for, it's a little bit rich for me, though it's quite possibly the first and last example of it I'll ever see... decisions, decisions.

Having said that, probably the single most valuable book I own is a first edition of the same novel, signed by the author to the woman he was supposedly going to marry, but that's another story...

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