Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bradford Exchange Books

Today I received my first book in the series of facsimile Oz books currently being offered by The Bradford Exchange. I wasn't among the first to sign up for this offer, as I did have to convince myself that yet another set of the books was a good idea....but curiosity finally overcame any other objections!
These books are being produced to be as close to the original printings as possible - and judging by The Wonderful Wizard, they're doing an excellent job! All the first state points of the book are present, including the earliest green version of the George M. Hill Co. stamp on the spine. The only non-original material is a numbered page signed by Robert Baum. In fact, I can easily imagine these books might cause some headaches down the road for inexperienced collectors!

The one drawback to this book is the unfortunately designed dustjacket. As this series is obviously aimed at collectors, and much care has been taken to produce a lovely book, it's difficult to understand the reasoning behind not creating reproduction jackets. I can't help thinking the publishers missed an excellent opportunity to provide a truly complete facsimile series. This will be even more evident with copies of Ozma, Road, and Patchwork Girl, all of which used completely different images on their jackets than on the book covers. As these books are being offered as a premium object, it seems like a foolish choice not to provide a complete piece.

Anyway, I look forward to receiving my next title. And perhaps some enterprising person will produce a set of proper jackets, to truly finish a lovely set of books!

8 comments:

  1. Impressive reproductions, but why, if you have originals, do you want copies. I have a pretty nice set (including multiples), in "nr Fine", and really see no need to buy ANOTHER re-issue (after BOW, the MANY "Desktop" editions, etc>0 to further "complete" a collection that was complete when I got the last "Famous Forty". I have gotten to the point where it is not necessary to be "obsessive" about completion (I need ONE Book to be "complete' and that comes up periodically, so if i HAD to "finish", it's just waiting and $$$). The re-issues are GREAT for the person who CAN'T afford "1st's", but you have a great collection...why reprints???

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  2. It's a legitimate question - but everyone approaches collecting differently. I did hesitate for quite a while before deciding to order, for much the same reasons you mention...but in the end, the idea of a well produced set of facsimile books was something I decided I'd like to have.

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  3. I found the reproduction of the color-plates very poor - and the textual illustration colors to be fairly rather untrue. Its a very handsome edition - except for the plates though.

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  4. I think the best reproductions of the color plates are in the original 1973 printing of The Annotated Wizard of Oz - not the more recent reprint, which is absolutely awful in terms of colors.

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  5. I agree - the 73 ANNOTATED has the best color plate reproduction. Perhaps even better (with one small caveat) was the Monica Bayley calendar frow the early 1980s. The caveat was that they made Dorothy's face flesh-toned. But the vibrancy and boldness and crispness were spot on.

    One problem a project like this... is that WIZARD is the absolute hardest of the 14 Baum books to print well. If they'd save it for last (instead of first) the knowledge gained on the other books might have helped produce a more perfect book.

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  6. Mine arrived damaged due to the egregiously poor packing. It has several bumps, plus a slight crease down the center of the spine (which your copy appears to have as well).

    Other than that, I have to say its the finest facsimile that I've ever seen. Some pages and plates are a bit lacking in depth and clarity, but others are sharp and vibrant. I'll be canceling the series, but I'm glad to have this first one, in spite of the damage.

    Mike

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  7. Hi, Bill - Is that numbered page signed by Robert Baum the only difference in the book itself? Is it a bound or tipped in page (i.e., could someone remove it without evidence?) I work with rare books for a living and am thus understandably interested. Thanks!

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    1. The signed/numbered page seems to be tipped in, but there's actually a very easy way to identify this printing - on the front pastedown endpaper, the Lion's muzzle isn't white as it is in the original printings - it's the same tan color as the rest of the page.

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