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

Monday, October 19, 2020

A Golden Road

The original edition of The Road to Oz is one of the handful of Oz books featuring a jacket with a different design than the cover of the book. On the 1909 Reilly & Britton first edition, the book itself has a stamped cover and the jacket is a lovely watercolor of Dorothy and friends, with a metallic gold background. The metallic ink was only used on the earliest copies, and the jacket soon changed to a yellow or blue background, finally settling on yellow after 1920. When Reilly & Britton became Reilly & Lee and dropped the stamped cover, the jacket design was put to use as a paper label. Metallic jackets are few and far between - I don’t own one, the photo shown below on the right is a later version of the jacket with a blue background.

A little while back, I was involved in some discussions concerning the Road to Oz dust jacket, spurred by a fragment of a metallic gold Road jacket. On closer examination, questions arose as to the authenticity of the piece; in the end, it appeared to be a much later jacket that had been altered with gold paint. I thought it would be interesting to see how difficult it might be to do this, and decided to create a copy of the book with a metallic label. I chose to do this to a book rather than a jacket, as it would be a sturdier base to work on, and jackets - even on later printings - are still uncommon enough that I didn’t want to destroy one! The original book was never published this way.

Different shades of yellow were used on the later printings of Road, varying from pale (which is rather attractive) to quite bright. I happened to have a late 1940’s/early 1950’s copy with the bright yellow background that I dislike. I masked the cover using frisket (an adhesive film), and cut out the background areas. With a couple passes of gold spray paint, I had created a non-existent variant of the book! The above photo shows the result. The book on the left is another copy of the standard cover, and on the right is my metallic version. It didn't take long, and the result is actually rather attractive!



scott said...

You’re braver than me Bill.

Bill Thompson said...

Frisket, eh? It's a beautiful creation, and now everybody wants one!

Bill Thompson said...

That's such a beautiful copy of the first-issue binding, Bill. Is it the one with the extra hands on thee back cover?

Bill Campbell said...

Yes it is - I had to double check, since I just grabbed one of my photos for the blog without paying a lot of attention!