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THE FAMOUS FIVE SERIES: THE MYSTERY OF THE 3 EXTRA FIRST EDITION DUSTWRAPPERS. Part 1

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

PART 1 INTRODUCTION

Collectors of the Famous Five (FF) series will know that a total of 21 titles were published by Hodder and Stoughton (H and S) between 1942 and 1963. What is less commonly known is that 24, rather than 21, first edition dustwrappers are known to exist - so the question is why are there 3 extra dustwrapppers?

Research has shown that this is a complex question to answer but hopefully this article will provide some degree of explanation.

In the first instance it is necessary for the reader to be aware of the 3 different types of dustwrappers that were used during the series:

1. OLD-STYLE: SINGLE BLOCK (SB)

The spine is plain and the text on the rear panel consists of a single block of either 2 or 3 paragraphs. See the figures 1 & 2 below.

Above, figures 1 & 2

This type of dustwrapper was used from 1942 to 1947 on 6 first editions (titles 1-6) and 5 reprints.

2. OLD-STYLE: DOUBLE BLOCK (DB)

The spine is again plain but the text on the rear panel consists of 2 blocks separated by a horizontal bar. See figure 3 below:  Five Go Adventuring Again 3rd impression 1948. This dustwrapper was used between 1948 and 1951 on 3 first editions (titles 7-9) and 23 reprints. Note that for the first edition and first reprint of Five Fall Into Adventure an illustration was added to the spine. This was in effect a transition between old and new-style dustwrappers. See figure 4 - Five Fall Into Adventure.

Above, left to right: Figure 3 - 5

3. NEW-STYLE

The spine is illustrated and the title number is printed in word form at the tail end. The FF are illustrated on the rear panel below a facsimile letter from the author. See Figure5 - Five On A Treasure Island 8th Imp. 1951. This style of dustwrapper was used on all first editions from 1951 (title 10) to the end of the series and on numerous reprints up to 1966 when Brockhampton took over as publishers.

So when were the 3 extra dustwrappers published?
Rather than occurring as random events during the course of the series, 2 different first edition versions of Five Go Off To CampFive Get Into Trouble and Five Fall Into Adventurewere published between 1948 and 1950, i.e. 6 first edition dustwrappers for 3 consecutive titles were published specifically in the double block era.

Having established when the extra dustwrappers occurred, next a detailed look at the subtle differences between the double-version dustwrappers.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

 

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