Roald Dahl – A Guide To Collecting his First Editions

In my earliest years of teaching, I found myself in a local bookstore looking for something to read to my class of ten year olds.  I came across a new publication entitled ‘The Twits’ by the English author Roald Dahl.  Like many books for the young, it was possible to read right in the store and I enjoyed it so much that I purchased it.  As I expected, the story of the ridiculously awful Mr. and Mrs. Twit and their dismal behavior to each other was a big hit.  The following year I was in the same store and came across another new Dahl offering called George’s Marvelous Medicine.  It was another winner and I was hooked. 

It didn’t take long for me to wonder if Mr. Dahl had written anything else for children.  The answer was a decided yes and I started exploring the used book stores for copies of his earlier books, both for children and adults.  One thing lead to another and Dahl became my entrance to the arcane and odd hobby of collecting ‘first edition’ books.  For those who get the collecting bug with books, there is a long and arduous path to amassing the knowledge required to pursue your passion successfully.  I found that you had to have a little money saved for your hobby and that it could be completely wasted if you didn’t do enough sleuthing to satisfy Sherlock Holmes.

Even the term ‘First Edition’ isn’t quite what it used to be.  An avid collector is actually looking for a copy of the ‘first print’ of the first time a book came into print (the ‘first edition’).  In ancient days, a reputable bookshop only touted having a ‘First Edition’ if they had a first print.  Some still do, but a vast majority of those selling books these days will claim ‘First Edition’ on any printing.  Some less informed folks will claim ‘First Edition’ on anything – buyer beware!

In many ways, it’s much easier now to identify a first print than it was in the past.  Most publishers put number lines or statements into the copyright page that clearly identify the print run.  This wasn’t always the case and some companies made distinguishing their print runs wildly difficult.  There are actually books dedicated to helping book dealers determine if a copy is a first print.   The minute differences between print runs are called ‘points’ and these books will outline the ‘points’ of a first print – if a copy has all the ‘points’, it’s a first print.  But the difficulties don’t stop there.  If a book was originally published with a dust jacket, it is essential to know the points for the jacket as well.  A lovely jacket can add exponentially to the value of a book and original jackets often get destroyed or lost – especially on children’s books.  When one has a first edition book without a jacket, it’s all too easy to wrap it with a jacket from a later print run.  So – those buying first prints will need to know how to distinguish both book and jacket.

Of course writing these books requires an enormous amount of research and sleuthing.  I speak from experience as I wrote one dedicated to the ‘points’ required to identify all the first printings of every book Dahl had published in the U.S. and the U.K.  It took about five years to write – and that was after I’d been collecting Dahl books for over ten years.  It also included the source or first magazine printing of every short story he wrote.  I have a single copy of the ms, complete with a color publicity picture of Dahl, color pictures of the front of each book and color pictures of all the magazines carrying his short stories. I had it bound in hard cover.  From this book I put together a ‘quick guide’ for anyone with an interest in collecting.

The Guide is below, but it will only appeal to really die-hard Dahl collectors, or those who are interested in seeing how much work goes into a guide of a single author’s work. Stop here if you are neither of these.

A Quick Guide to Identifying the Editions of Roald Dahl

(From: The Roald Dahl Companion – a Guide to Collecting the First Editions of Roald Dahl by Richard Walker)

Copyright © 2017 by Richard Walker

Introduction

Any writer should always offer a guide to identifying any series of books with some trepidation.  These guides are often compiled years after the books were published.  I myself began to have interest in Dahl’s work while he was still alive, but about forty years after his first publication.  In doing my research I discovered that in any given year, even very prestigious publishing houses can vary considerably from their standard practice in identifying print runs for their books, especially when it comes to children’s editions.  In addition it is very difficult, sometimes even impossible, to find publishing information on books that were printed decades ago.  This makes establishing the ‘points’ of a first print part sleuthing and part guessing. 

The term first edition is, in this time period, a rather vague designation.  It used to be synonymous with first print.  Now any printing based on the original printing plates is termed a ‘first edition’.  It isn’t until a book is republished in a new format (with Dahl this is usually due to a change from the original illustrator) that a statement of ‘first edition’ should be inappropriate.  In the past the first printing of a later edition would be described as a ‘first edition – thus, but this term is becoming less common today as terminology becomes more ambiguous.  It is becoming increasingly common to see listings of the first prints of later editions also described as ‘first edition’, a rather confusing state of affairs for everyone.  

In the interests of accuracy, not to mention using a methodology that will be understood by buyers and sellers, I employ the following method; ‘first edition’ followed by the print number and, when another edition appears, I state edition of (date) followed by the illustrator and its print run. 

For example:

– ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, Knopf, 1964, 1st edition, 1st print, illustrated by Joseph Schindelman.  Or

– ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, edition of 1973, 1st print, illustrated by Joseph Schindelman.

Dahl is a little more complex than some authors in that some of the first prints originated in the U.S.A. and some were first seen in the U.K.  There are three where there is no certainty as to which country’s edition was printed first.  As a rule of thumb almost all of Dahl’s works from 1942 to 1970 were published first in the U.S.  The publication in 1979 of My Uncle Oswald is the starting point where there is a clear precedent in the U.K. editions.  Some of the books published between 1970 and 1978 are not always discernable.  When dealing with Dahl editions it is also therefore helpful to state which country the edition is from.  For example: first U.K. edition or first U.S. edition, followed by a note in the description as to which is the true first, if it can be established.

I have also come across those who use the term first state.   I think this is a preferable method over using first print when applied to a single publisher.  When a book has multiple printings over a short space of time, it is often highly speculative as to whether there were any differences in the printings.  In some cases it is clear there weren’t and therefore the term first state is more appropriate.  A good example of this is found with the Dr. Seuss Book ‘The Cat in the Hat’.  Most guides assert the Random House is the first edition.  It was first published in 1957, and the success of the Random House edition led the company to launch a whole new series the following year (the famous ‘Beginner Book’ series).  When the new series started the company decided to change the original $2.00 pricing to $1.95 and just before the switch there were some printings without a price on the jacket.   For years all the guides asserted that a first print of the Random House could only be identified if it had a jacket bearing a $2.00 pricing on the flap.  However, recent research (see Philip Nel’s book ‘The Annotated Cat’) indicates that the Cat was so successful from the outset that Random House was ordering print runs of about twelve thousand a month for many months after its March 1957 launch.  If there was no compelling reason to change the cost until 1958, is it not logical to assume that all or most of the print runs of 1957 remained at $2.00?  That should lead to the conclusion that having the $2.00 pricing as the sole identifier for a first print is highly questionable.  It is also a fairly recent trend for dealers to assert that the first print Random House book itself can be identified because it was the only one with a ‘single stitch’ binding, later printings switching to a more sturdy multiple stitching.  No one, however, is pointing to any proof that the single stitch was limited to a single print run.

But the matter becomes even worse when the same research revealed that the Random House edition is not even the real first edition.  The book was a joint venture between Houghton Mifflin (who had the idea) and Random House (to whom the author was under contract).  Although the copyright page of the Houghton Mifflin indicates that the two editions were published ‘simultaneously’, in fact the unjacketed Houghton Mifflin was published a few months before the Random House and is therefore the true first edition.  Sadly, you won’t find many guides that have this information.

In my opinion, several Dahl books engender similar concerns.   Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an example, although it doesn’t rise to the same level of illogic as our ‘Cat in the Hat’ example.  The Chocolate Factory was first published in September of 1964 and there were subsequent printings in October and December of the same year.  The accepted point of identification of a first print Charlie is the inclusion of the paper manufacturer in the colophon.  Not commonly known is that there are two versions that contain this statement; a version with red boards that most people know and another very rare version that has blue boards.  Although it’s possible that both versions were printed in the same run (i.e. the bindery ran out of red cloth), at this point in time, it is impossible to know for sure that the two don’t represent different print runs.  Aside from the blue boards, how does anyone know definitively that all three printings from 1964 weren’t identical?

The point I’m making is that some parts of all guides are speculative and shouldn’t be viewed as unassailable truth. 

Gaining a healthy skepticism about nature of the enterprise is a good starting point before looking at Dahl’s publishers and what their normal practices were in identifying their print runs.  Since ‘normal’ practice might change with any company over a period of time, printed below is a list with each company’s ‘standard practice’ for the period when Dahl’s books were published.  Remember that not all books will have used the ‘standard practice’ and the standard practice for publishers can change over time.

For many years many U.S. companies relied on a putting the statement ‘First Edition’ above or below the copyright information.  They did this on the first print and then removed the line for every subsequent printing, making it difficult to distinguish between later printings.  Some U.S. companies used the term ‘First Printing’ above or below the copyright page and sometimes continued identifying the subsequent print runs in the same place using ‘Second printing’, or ‘Third printing’ etc.

In the U.K. many companies used a statement such as: ‘First published in England’ and then the date, which should match the copyright date above it.  In the first print all the dates should be the same.  Here’s an example from Cape:

Text copyright © 1983 by Roald Dahl

Illustrations copyright © 1983 by Rosemary Fawcett

First published in England 1983 by Jonathan Cape

Later printings were designated by using the term ‘reprinted’ with a date(s).

Here’s an example of a second print from Cape that shows a second printing in the same year:

Text copyright © 1983 by Roald Dahl

Illustrations copyright © 1983 by Rosemary Fawcett

First published in England 1983 by Jonathan Cape

Reprinted 1983

If the example above contained multiple dates, then the number of dates listed is the print run.  For example:

Reprinted, 1983, 1984 (four times), 1985 (twice), 1986.  

This would mean your copy is the 9th printing.

Over the past number of years the use of a number line has come into use.  These lines are found on the copyright page and can come in a number of configurations.  The important thing to remember is that the lowest number is the print run.  Although rare, occasionally the statement ‘First Edition’ takes the place of the number 1 depending on the company and the period of the printing.  More commonly it is used in addition to the number 1.  

In conjunction with the number lines, some companies have a corresponding line showing a series of two digit numbers related to the year of publication.  The lowest date, matched with the lowest number in the line, will indicate the print run and the year that run happened.  For example if you saw:

4 5 6 7 8 9    99 00 01 02, it would mean the fourth printing from 1999.

Here are some common examples:

a) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (if you see 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 it means a fourth printing)

b) 1 2 3 4 5 6    97 98 99 00  (the printing is first and it was first published in 1997)

c) 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2  (a first print)

d)   10  (seen by itself, this would be a 10th printing)

e) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2  (a 2nd print)

f) First Edition 2 3 4 5 6 (when the words are used in place of the number 1)

Note: I don’t know of a Dahl edition where this was used.

g) 31 32 33 34 35 (many printings have already been run and this is the 31st printing)

h)           First Edition                 (when this statement is used with the 1)

            1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

‘Normal’ practice for Publishers in the U.S.A.

Delacorte Press: used ‘First Printing’ statement, dropped after the first print.

Note: only relates to the first book publication of the short story ‘In the Ruins’.

Farrar Straus & Giroux: used ‘First Edition’ with date’ or ‘First American Edition’ with date, no later dates or printing statements.  Later editions are listed under.

Harper & Row: used ‘First Edition’ statement on the copyright page, dropped on subsequent printings.

Knopf: used a ‘First Edition’ statement, dropped on subsequent printings.  Children’s editions used a number line starting about 1978.

Random House:  used ‘First edition’ under the copyright information, which was dropped on subsequent printings.

Random House/Vintage: used ‘First edition’ under the copyright information, which was dropped on subsequent printings.

Random/Century: used a number line with ‘1’ as start.

Reynal & Hitchcock: no special statement on a first printing, but indicated later printings (sometimes on the flap of the dust jacket)

Scribners: used the letter ‘A’ on the copyright page

Viking: used number line beginning with ‘1’.

‘Normal’ practice for Publishers in the U.K.

Collins: used copyright statement with date below, no later dates or printing statements indicated.

Hamish Hamilton: states ‘First published’ followed by the date, no later dates or printing statements.

George Allen & Unwin: used statement ‘First published in Great Britain in’ followed by the date, no later dates or printing statements.

Unwin/Hyman: (this applies only to later editions first published by Allen & Unwin)  All previous editions are listed with how many printings, then author’s original copyright date.  Under this is the copyright statement for the new illustrator and the new date.  Later prints would be listed below this.

Secker & Warburg: used statement ‘first published’ followed by the date, no later dates or printing statements.

Michael Joseph: used statement ‘Published in Great Britain’ followed by the date, no later dates or printing statements.

Jonathan Cape: used statement ‘First published’ followed by the date with later printings stated underneath.  Later editions also used a number line.

Puffin: used ‘First published’ followed by the date and a number line underneath.

British Railway Board: used authorial copyright statement with the date of their publication followed underneath by ‘Published by British Railways Board’

Viking: used a number line.

A special note regarding Knopf and Harper & Row:

Both these publishers produced both ‘trade’ and ‘library’ editions.  In general, the library editions had reinforced bindings and different identifying logos – Knopf used a ‘Gibraltar’ seal with an elephant pictured (instead of their usual picture of a Borzoi dog) and Harper & Row used a ‘HarperCrest’ sticker.  In theory both sets were printed simultaneously, and I have never seen evidence proffered that would suggest otherwise.  I am unsure if Knopf used a dust jacket on their ‘Gibraltar’ bindings.  The trade edition would have a dust jacket and boards that were plain cloth while the boards of the library edition were pictorial and matching the picture on the jacket of the trade edition.  Harper & Row did use jackets with both trade and library editions.  They had a single jacket printed with the trade price on the top of the front flap and the library price on the bottom of the front flap.  If a jacket went on a trade edition, the bottom price was clipped and if the jacket went on a library edition, the top was clipped and a gold ‘HarperCrest’ sticker was wrapped around the outside, crossing the spine near the bottom.  With Dahl books the Harper & Row information is limited to the U.S. edition of ‘The Magic Finger’.

————————————————————————————————————

Disclaimer:

While every effort is made to ensure that all the information contained in the ‘Quick Guide to Identifying the First Editions of Roald Dahl’ is accurate, in no event shall Richard Walker or Big Kid Books and its owner be liable for any damages of any kind arising out of or in connection to the use of this article on the website.  The Guide is offered without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.

————————————————————————————————————

THE BOOKS

Note: I generally limit my entries to the first editions from the U.S. and the U.K.  Subsequent editions where the illustrator was changed are included in the same fashion. 

There are a multitude of books repackaging Dahl’s short stories.  I only include such collections if they contain at least one new story in its first book form publication.

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life (Michael Joseph, 1989)

            Standard practice statement, with jacket priced £11.95 & $22.95

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life (Knopf, 1989)

            First Edition statement, with jacket priced $18.95

The BFG (illustrated by Q. Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1982

            Standard practice statement, with jacket priced £6.50

The BFG (illustrated by Q. Blake) Farrar Straus & Giroux 1982

            Standard practice statement, with jacket priced $10.95

The BFG (illustrated by Q. Blake) Farrar Straus & Giroux 1982

            With slip case, not priced, signed by author & illustrator

            Limitation page with number out of 300 copies

Boy: Tales of Childhood Jonathan Cape, 1984

            Standard practice statement, with jacket priced £6.50

Boy: Tales of Childhood Farrar Straus & Giroux 1984

            Standard practice statement, with jacket priced $10.95

Boy: Tales of Childhood Farrar Straus & Giroux 1984

            With slip case, not priced, signed by author & illustrator

            Limitation page with number out of 200 copies

Boy and Going Solo: An Autobiographical Account 1916-1941

            Jonathan Cape 1992 (an omnibus edition of the two biographical books)

            Standard practice statement, with jacket priced £12.99

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (illustrated by J. Schindelman)

            Knopf 1964 (the true first, preceding the U.K. edition by 3 years)

            Non-standard practice with the book, identifiable by a six line colophon that gives the paper manufacturer and published in a jacket priced at $3.95 and no SBN numbers on rear.

Notes: jacket – The critical point for a 1st state dust jacket is the absence of the small SBN numbers on the bottom of the rear panel.  The price of $3.95 is not a critical point as the pricing didn’t change until well after the SBN numbers appeared.  All copies without the SBN were priced at $3.95.  The pricing actually didn’t change until the mid 1970’s, after several printings of a revised edition (1973) that expunged the dark looking Oompa Loompas.  That means a ‘first state’ jacket is indistinguishable for many printings of this book.

Book -Considered by many to be Dahl’s masterpiece for children, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is identified by many to be one of the more important books in 20th C. children’s literature.  It is the only one of Dahl’s books that is on the Publishers’ Weekly list of the Best Selling Children’s Books of all time – in America.  It is quite rare in its first state and there are a number of cautions in the ‘points’ needed to identify the first print.

The critical information to look for in identifying a 1st print of this book is the inclusion, in the small print colophon found on the last printed page, of a sentence; “Paper manufactured by S.D. Warren Co.”, the fifth of six lines in the colophon (it is commonly thought that the next print dropped this sentence and left a space in its place – this is why a 1st printing is often referred to as a ‘six line colophon’).  This statement is often confused with the six-line biography found above the colophon on the last printed page or the six line copyright statement found at the beginning of the book.  There is a red board version with no colophon and it is the earliest of the book club editions.  The boards are a little smaller in size than the trade editions and its jacket, if it has one that is not cut at the corner, has ‘Book Club Edition’ on the bottom front flap.

Other ‘points’ for a true first print are common to what is generally considered a second printing and include: mustard/gold colored endpapers, a chocolate colored ‘head’ (page tops), the Knopf Borzoi label blind stamped on the rear board.  Most people also include the dark red/maroon boards as another point.  However, there are a few cautions I will cite, THE MOST NOTABLE BEING A SIX-LINE COLOPHON VERSION WITH BLUE BOARDS.

The common belief is that the 2nd print matches the 1st print in every respect except for the sixth line in the colophon (i.e. both prints have red/maroon boards, chocolate stained head and gold endpapers, but the second print has only 5 lines in the colophon – the fifth of six lines denoting the paper manufacturer, S.D. Warren, is missing).  However, I have seen some variations in the red coloring of the six line colophon boards.  Some copies I’ve seen have a darker red/maroon than others and I believe these to be the earliest, based on the possibility that there might have been a later red-boarded printing that has a six line colophon.  The lighter colored red copies are more like the red found in most of the five line colophon copies. But leaving aside the shadings of red on the first and second state copies, the most interesting variant is the blue-boarded version.  It has a six-line colophon, mustard/gold colored endpapers, a chocolate colored head and the Borzoi logo blind stamped on the rear board.  The only difference between it and the first state red-boarded version is the beautiful blue boards.

There are those who argue that the blue-boarded version is the TRUE first print.  They question as to why a publisher would start with maroon boards, change to blue for a second print and then return again to red.  It is more sensible, in their view, to have started with blue boards, changed to maroon and then continue with maroon.  At this time one can’t dismiss this assertion, except that such a scenario unfolded sometime during a similar time period with the early Book Press printings of ‘James’, which went from maroon to yellow back to an orangey-red.  In addition, I’ve already noted my belief about the darker hue of many six-line copies compared to the red five-line printings.

A better argument might be made on the basis of the ‘blues’ scarcity and the quick succession of early printings.  In my opinion, the rarity of the blue board variant is critical to the discussion.  In my forty years of collecting and researching Dahl editions, I have handled dozens of red first prints and seen possibly several hundred more on offer.  Over that same period of time I’ve owned three blues and seen listings for only four others.  That number of copies would automatically suggest that, if the blue were first, it would have had an extremely limited print run, perhaps only a few hundred.  Much hinges on whether that kind of number is reasonable. 

One of the ‘Charlie’ paperback editions had a very useful publishing history.  This indicated that, in the year of publication (1964), there were 3 separate print runs: Sept., Oct. and December.  The fact that only a month elapsed between the first and second printings might lead one to believe that the first print run was very small and the second printing possibly larger, supplying the demand for copies until December.  I think it is possible that the first two printings had the ‘Warren’ paper statement.  If the first print run were exceedingly small, it could well have been ‘blue’ and the second changed to ‘maroon’.  Neither have I any evidence to shed light on why or when the paper manufacturer was changed.

If the first print run was small and a second print also had the ‘Warren’ paper statement, it is certainly POSSIBLE that the blue variant may be the true first print. 

Those who oppose this point of view refer to the deep red color of the boards of the first print ‘James and the Giant Peach’.  They suggest that the choice of the red color was a deliberate attempt to match the two books.  The peach colored head for ‘James’ and the chocolate colored ‘head’ for ‘Charlie’ are cited as another part of the marketing plan. The only downside to this theory is that, by the time ‘Charlie’ was first printed, ‘James’ had already gone through three different colored boards.  Why not match the new ‘Charlie’ with the most recent version of ‘James’?

This brings us back to the missing piece of information that is critical – what was the number in the first print run?  Knowing this would lend greater credence to one side or the other.  Regretfully, this is one piece of information I’ve never been able to track down.  The only ‘hard’ number I was able to find in the Knopf archives was 5,000 in the first print run of his second book of short stories for adults, ‘Someone Like You’. 

By the time Dahl wrote ‘Charlie’ in 1964, he was a well-known and extremely successful author of adult short stories.  His first collection of short stories about the war, ‘Over to You’ (1944/45) was followed by a series of short stories written for some rather prestigious US magazines.  One of these stories caught Alfred Knopf’s eye and led to a book contract with Knopf and the publication of his second book ‘Someone Like You’ in 1953.  The book was very successful and Knopf published another collection called ‘Kiss Kiss’ in 1960.  The two books established Dahl’s reputation as a writer and the stories were the basis for several popular films as well as a TV serial. 

As I have already stated above, the first of the story collections, ‘Someone Like You’ had an initial print run of 5,000 copies.  According to one of Dahl’s biographies, his first children’s book with Knopf, ‘James and the Giant Peach’ reputedly sold only 2600 copies in its first year of publication, a number that Knopf considered very reasonable for juvenile titles at that time.  It is unfortunate that this source doesn’t say whether all the copies were from its first ‘Wolff’ print run.  The question arises as to whether Knopf would print a large number of copies of ‘Charlie’ with the sales history of ‘James’ and the concession that juvenile sales were generally slow during this period, despite Dahl’s growing reputation as an adult author.  If ‘Someone Like You’ had 5,000 copies in its first print run, would a first run of ‘Charlie’ be more, less or equivalent?

One of the prestigious brick and mortar bookshops once claimed that ‘Charlie’ had an initial print run of 10,000 copies.  If you accept this number as reasonable, it is unlikely that the “blue” was a separate and first print run, preceding the maroon – there would have been many more listings of the blues through the years if the first print run was that large at the outset.  However, based on the print runs of his popular adult books and the number of sales of ‘James’ in its first year, not to mention the generally slow nature of sales of juvenile titles at this time, I am extremely skeptical of a 10,000 copy first print run, and no one at the shop was willing to confirm the information or its source. 

It would seem more credible to me that there might have been 10,000 copies for the first 3 print runs combined.  If, like me, you are skeptical about the ten thousand first printing figure, the possibility of a very small first print run still exists.  At the same time, not all juvenile book sales were so slow.  Seuss’ ‘Cat in the Hat’, was published in 1957.  The Random House version was a publishing phenomenon.  Philip Nel’s book, ‘The Annotated Cat’ reports that Random House was running an average of twelve thousand copies a month in the first year of publication.  I didn’t find out what he reported as the initial print run, which may have been smaller than later printings.  So, it is possible for a juvenile title to generate large print runs.  On the other hand, the 2600 copies of ‘James’ sold in a whole year doesn’t exactly support the idea that Knopf would have gambled on huge initial sales for ‘Charlie’ to justify a large first print run.

There are other theories that could explain the provenance of the blue.  One such alternative theory is that the ‘blue’ and the ‘maroon’ were published simultaneously in the same print run.  This theory assumes that there might have been a shortage of red cloth in the bindery in filling the order for the first print run.  In order to complete the order, a small number of copies were bound with some extra blue cloth.  Such a scenario is not unknown in publishing and it’s a reasonable theory.

Another small clue that may or may not have any relevance is that a maroon copy Dahl signed in 1964, dedicated to the headmistress of his children’s school, came on the market a few years ago.  It could have been a dedicated first state copy given to Dahl by the publisher, but of course there’s no way of knowing for sure, and still wouldn’t preclude the theory of a red cloth shortage in the first print run. 

Another theory is that a number of blues were printed as mock-ups to test color preference before the final decision went to the red.  Support for this view could be inferred by the coloring of the early printings of ‘James and the Giant Peach’.  The first Wolff binding print of ‘James’ was in 1961 and the boards, like ‘Charlie’ are a dark maroon red.  Between 1961, when ‘James’ was first published, and 1968 there were at least four printings.  This can be determined because of the variations found in board color that came with their dust jackets lacking any SBN number.  These numbers didn’t come into use until 1968 so any printing with no SBN on the jacket was pre-1968. 

Based on my observations over many years, I attempted to create a list of precedence for later printings of ‘James’ based on their board colors.  I believe that the boards of the second print were also the same maroon color as the Wolff bindings, although the board sizing was a tiny bit smaller.  What I believe is the third print of the ‘James’ was a radical departure into lovely yellow boards, which was followed by orangey reddish boards that had printings with and without SBN numbers.  If my supposition is correct, the third printing with yellow boards could have been printed around late 1964.  This departure into brighter colors could have influenced a debate on the board color for the new ‘Charlie’.  A few mock copies in variations of a blue color could have been made before the choice went to mimic the maroon of the first ‘James’.  This would make the ‘blue’ copies earlier than the maroon copies, even if not an official print run.  Based on the extreme rarity of the ‘blues’, this is a theory that I also finding very plausible.

However, none of the theories is conclusive.  There may exist other possibilities as to the provenance of the ‘blue’ ‘Charlie’. It is possible that at some point the number of copies for ‘Charlie’s’ first print run might surface.  But, even if it did, it might only strengthen a case without final authority.  It is best to conclude that, at this point, all we can know for sure is that there are two ‘six line colophon’ trade editions and that NO PRECEDENCE CAN YET BE DETERMINED CONSLUSIVELY.  Even if we accept the idea that the two versions are simultaneous, we know that the ‘blue’ variant is by far the more rare of the two and the kind of item that will appeal to the very serious Dahl collector, looking for something that few others in the world possess.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (illustrated by F Jacques) Allen & Unwin 1967

            Standard practice statement, no jacket and not priced

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (illustrated by J Schindelman) Knopf 1973

            States ‘Revised Edition 1973’ listing 7 books at top of page

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (illustrated by M Foreman) Unwin/Hyman 1985 – Last of three statements reads ‘This edition published 1985’ with jacket priced at £6.95

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (illustrated by Q Blake) Viking 1995

            Number line with jacket £9.99

Note: There is a variant jacket that is not priced and has no Viking logo on the spine

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (illustrated by Q Blake) Knopf 2001

            Number line with ‘Revised Edition’ underneath and published with non-priced jacket.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (illustrated by J Schindelman) Knopf 1972

            First Edition statement, jacket priced at $3.95

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (illustrated by F Jacques) Allen & Unwin 1973 – standard practice statement, no jacket and not priced

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (illustrated by M Foreman) Unwin/Hyman 1986 – 2 publishing statements the second reads ‘This edition published 1986’ with jacket priced at £7.50

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (illustrated by Q Blake) Viking 1995

            Number line with jacket priced at £9.99

Note: There is a variant jacket that is not priced and has no Viking logo on the spine

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (illustrated by Q Blake) Knopf 2001

            Number line with non-priced jacket

The Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl Michael Joseph 1991

            Standard practice statement (above listing of previous publication copyright credits) with jacket priced at £15.99

The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willie Wonka (illustrated by F Jacques) Allen & Unwin 1978 – standard practice statement that finishes ‘one volume 1978’ with non-priced jacket (or with sticker priced at £4.95)

Note: this is a unique jacket as the second print had the pricing printed on the jacket as well as the rear flap stating it was printed in Germany – the first print has printed in England.  In addition the first print has a misprint on the copyright page, listing a copyright date for The Great Glass Elevator as 1937.

The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willie Wonka (illustrated by M Foreman) Unwin/Hyman 1987 – standard practice statement beginning ‘This one volume…first published in 1987, with jacket priced at £9.95

Note: a unique first state jacket as the second print has ‘illustrated by Michael Foreman’ printed on the front panel at the bottom under the picture of Mr. Wonka.  This statement is not on the first state jacket.

The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Willie Wonka (illustrated by Joseph Schndelman) Knopf, 1994 – published without jacket and not priced with a number line on the copyright page.

The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willie Wonka (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1995 – number line used with jacket priced at £12.99.

The Dahl Diary (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Puffin 1991 softcover – uses a numberline and priced at £4.08 and $10.95

Danny the Champion of the World (illustrated by Jill Bennett) Knopf, 1975 – used a numberline with jacket priced at $5.95

Note: there is no established precedent between the U.S. and U.K. version.  The U.K. galley proofs were taken from the American proofs with the possibility that, if not published simultaneously, then the U.S. version may be the first.

Also be aware that Knopf published a subsequent edition with a new jacket and a different color for the boards instead of the original pumpkin color.  The plates from the original edition were used, including the copyright page with a full number line.

Danny the Champion of the World (illustrated by Jill Bennett) Jonathan Cape, 1975 – used single statement as per normal practice with a jacket priced at £2.25

Note: as above.  It is also worth noting that many of the early U.K. editions are much more scarce than their U.S. counterparts. 

Danny the Champion of the World (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1994 – used a number line and a jacket pricing of £8.99

Danny the Champion of the World (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Knopf 2002 – used a number line in a non priced jacket.

Dirty Beasts (illustrated by Rosemary Fawcett) Jonathan Cape, 1983 – used standard single statement and published without a dust jacket and no pricing.

Dirty Beasts (illustrated by Rosemary Fawcett) Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1983 – used a First Edition statement and a jacket priced at $11.95

Dirty Beasts (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1984 – lists both prior printings of Fawcett illustrations and then the statement ‘This edition with new illustrations published 1984’

Note: I am not aware that there was a corresponding edition published in the U.S.

The Enormous Crocodile (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Knopf, 1978 – used a number line and a jacket priced at $4.95

Note: This is another edition where there is no certain precedence between the U.S. and U.K. versions and may have been published simultaneously.

The Enormous Crocodile (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1978 – used standard statement and published without a jacket and not priced (it is possible to find a sticker on the back panel marked: J.CAPE/£2.95 net/(line)/In U.K. Only)

Note: As above

Esio Trot (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1990 – used a standard single statement and published with a jacket priced at £6.95.

Esio Trot (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1990 – used a number line and published with a jacket priced at $14.95.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (illustrated by Donald Chaffin) Knopf, 1970 – used a ‘First Edition’ statement and published in a jacket priced at $3.95.

Note: This is another edition where the precedence between the U.S. and the U.K. versions is unknown.  The galley proofs for both originated in the U.K. and the artist was living in the U.K. at the time, making it possible that the U.K. version is the first if they were not published simultaneously.  The jacket for this edition was unchanged for several printings.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (illustrated by Donald Chaffin) Allen & Unwin, 1970 – used their standard single statement.  Published without a jacket and not priced.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (illustrated by Jill Bennett) Puffin, 1974 – published only in soft cover using a single statement and priced at 20p and $0.65.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (illustrated by Tony Ross) Unwin/Hyman, 1988 – lists this publisher, then the first publication and date with Allen and Unwin, then ninth impression.  Under that is a copyright date for Dahl and under that ‘illustrations © Tony Ross, 1988 – published with jacket priced at £6.95.

Note: Another hardcover edition of this book was published by Viking in 1993, published with a jacket priced at £7.99.  I have seen assertions that this was the first hardcover edition of the Ross illustrations, but the Unwin/Hyman preceded this edition.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1996 – used a number line in a jacket that is not priced and lacks a Viking logo on the spine.

Note: Around 1996 there were a number of older Dahl books republished by Viking with new illustrations by Quentin Blake.  All but this one had two competing dust jackets – one with a Viking logo on the spine and priced on the front flap and the other without either price or logo.  When I was unable to discover a matching priced version of this book, I began to wonder if the unpriced/no logo versions might have been published first.  Of course, it’s equally possible that both jackets were published at the same time for different markets.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Knopf, 2002 – used a number line and a jacket priced at $15.95 and $23.95 (for the Canadian market)

George’s Marvellous Medicine (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1981 – used a standard single statement and published with a jacket priced at £3.95.

George’s Marvelous Medicine (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Knopf, 1982 – used a number line and published with a jacket priced at $7.95.

Note: when searching for listings, note the difference in American and U.K. spelling.

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1985 – used a standard single statement and priced at £5.95 although not published with a dust jacket.

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1985 – used a standard single statement and priced at $11.95 although not published with a dust jacket.

Going Solo  Jonathan Cape, 1986 – used a standard single statement and published with a jacket priced at £7.95.

Going Solo  Farrar Straus & Giroux 1986 – used a First Edition statement and published with a jacket priced at $14.95.

The Gremlins (illustrated by Disney Studios) Random House, 1943 – used a standard single statement and published with a jacket priced at $1.00

The Gremlins (illustrated by Disney Studios) Collins, 1944(?) – used a standard single statement and published without a price or jacket.

The Gremlins (illustrated by Disney Studios) Ayres & James Sidney (Australia), 1944(?) – used a standard single statement and published with a price of 4/6

Note: I normally don’t include publications outside of the U.S. and the U.K., but in this case I suspect that the Ayres edition preceded the Collins.  Like the Random House it came with a jacket and both give the author’s share of proceeds to the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund.  The U.K. is the odd one out, being published without a jacket and the publisher’s entire profits going to the R.A.F. fund.

11th Annual Edition: The Year’s Best SF 1966 (Ed. By Judith Merril and containing In the Ruins) Delacorte Press, 1966 – used First Printing statement, published with dust jacket priced at $4.95

Note: In the Ruins is a truly odd addition to Dahl’s short story output.  It is only a few paragraphs long and was supposed to be published in the collection Kiss Kiss (1960), even to the point of being included in the setting copy for the printers, but dropped at the last minute.  It wasn’t published until 1964 when it was put in the official program for the 1964 World’s Book Fair held in London.  It was picked up the following year and published in King Magazine and made its first appearance in this book collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I have seen no other listing for its publication.

James and the Giant Peach (illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert) Knopf, 1961 – did not adhere to standard practice.  The book can be identified by a statement, in a five-line colophon found on the last printed page, that includes the statements: Bound by H. Wolff Co.  (later printings were bound by the Book Press) and underneath this: Paper supplied by P.H. Glatfelter, Spring Grove Pennsylvania (not included in any Book Press printing).  The boards are a deep red/maroon and the head is stained a peach/yellow color.  The dust jacket is priced at $3.95 and does not have any SBN numbers on the right bottom of the rear panel.  This first state jacket was common to all printings of the book from 1961 to the introduction of SBN numbers in about 1968.

Notes:  One of the peculiarities of the Wolff binding is that I have seen three different sizes of the book, each about 1/16th inch different from each other.  One size is larger than the normal ‘Book Press’ binding, one the same size and one is smaller.  I only discovered this anomaly when by chance I once had six copies on my shelf at the same time.  I don’t know the significance of this information.  One of the frustrations in researching Dahl is the absence of hard numbers for the first print runs.  One of Dahl’s biographies states that James sold 2600 copies in the first year.  Although Dahl complained about slow sales, the company reassured him that this was quite acceptable for a children’s book at the time.  Unfortunately, I haven’t run across a listing of print runs and I don’t know if the 2600 represented a part of, or more than one print run.  As with Charlie and Chocolate Factory, it is possible that there were a number of early print runs identified by the Wolff bindery and they are indistinguishable except for minute sizing differences.  Or it may be that the bindery was somehow lax in the production of the boards.  Until further information arises, we can only surmise that a first state is Bound by H. Wolff, irrespective of the size.

On occasion I am also asked what the precedence of later printings might be.  As an exercise in guesswork and logic I offer the following possibility.

1) The Wolff binding(s)

2) The Book Press binding that matches the deep red/maroon coloring of the boards and maintains the peach colored head. The size matches the smaller of the Wolff press books

3) The Book Press binding that has yellow boards and maintains the peach colored head.  The size matches the mid sized Wolff press books.

4) The Book Press binding that has reddish/orange boards – it was used in many printings

5) The Book Press bindings with SBN numbers on the jacket (book not distinguishable from entry #4)

6) Book Press bindings begin to change pricing, book indistinguishable as above

7) Book Press binding with blue boards and dark quarter spine

It might also be worthy of note that James was the first commercial children’s book illustrated by Ms. Burkert.  She went on to a distinguished career in book illustrating.

James and the Giant Peach (illustrated by Michel Simeon) Allen & Unwin, 1967 – used a standard single statement and was published without pricing and no dust jacket.

James and the Giant Peach (illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark) Unwin/Hyman, 1990 – after original publishing listing and twelfth print, a standard © statement for Clark illustrations 1990 was used.  Published with a dust jacket priced at £8.95.

James and the Giant Peach (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1995 – used a number line and was published with a jacket that was either not priced and without a Viking logo on the spine or a jacket with the logo on the spine and priced at £9.99.

James and the Giant Peach (illustrated by Lane Smith) Knopf, 1996 – used number line and published with a jacket priced at $16.00

James and the Giant Peach (illustrated Quentin Blake) Knopf, 2002 – used a number line and published with a jacket but without a price.

Kiss Kiss Knopf, 1960 – used a standard practice ‘First Edition’ statement and published with a jacket priced at $3.95.

Kiss Kiss Michael Joseph, 1960 – used standard practice single statement and published with a jacket priced at 15s net.

Note: an omnibus volume entitled Twenty nine Kisses From Roald Dahl was published by Michael Joseph in 1969 as a tie-in for a new T.V. serial.  It contained all the stories found in ‘Kiss Kiss’ and ‘Someone Like You’.  There were no new stories in this omnibus and it served as the basis for a later U.K. edition entitled ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, which did not contain any new stories, unlike the U.S. softcover version of the same title, which added one new story.

The Magic Finger (illustrated by William Pene Du Bois) Harper & Row, 1966 – did not conform to normal practice.  The first state book has pictorial boards matching the rear picture of the dust jacket and a copyright page that was identical for a number of printings (later printings finally used green boards with darker quarter spine).  The only way to identify a first print is if it has its original jacket with the original pricing of $2.50 (if a trade edition – and clipped at the bottom front flap) or $2.57 (if a HarperCrest Library edition – and clipped at the top front flap).  The 60-100/0866 code at the bottom of the front flap was consistent through all the printings and is not useful for identification.

The Magic Finger (illustrated by William Pene Du Bois) Allen & Unwin, 1968 – used normal practice single statement and published without a price or a dust jacket.  The pictorial boards are the same as the U.S. edition (i.e. matching the picture on the rear panel of the U.S. edition’s dust jacket.

The Magic Finger (illustrated by Pat Marriott) Puffin Books in soft cover, 1974 – used standard practice with 3 statements with the last being: ‘published by Puffin Books 1974’.  Priced at 20p and $0.65.

The Magic Finger (illustrated by Tony Ross) Puffin, 1989 – I believe used a standard statement form with previous editions listed prior to the last being with new illustrations and copyright Tony Ross, 1989 under Dahl copyright of 1966.  I believe that this edition was published in soft cover while the Unwin/Hyman version came out in hard cover.  I am unsure of precedence.  It was priced at

The Magic Finger (illustrated by Tony Ross) Unwin/Hyman, 1989 – used a number line and was published with a jacket – I’ve seen without price and with £6.95.

The Magic Finger (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1995 – used a number line and came with either of two jackets and with or without the Viking logo on the spine.  Also published in the U.S.  If priced £8.99.

Matilda (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1988 – used standard single statement and published with a jacket priced at £8.50.

Matilda (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1988 – used a number line and published with a jacket priced at $13.95.

Memories with Food at Gipsy House  Viking, 1991 – used a number line and published with a jacket priced at £16.99

The Mildenhall Treasure (illustrated by Ralph Steadman) Jonathan Cape, 1999 – used number line and published with a jacket priced at £14.99.

The Mildenhall Treasure (illustrated by Ralph Steadman) Knopf, 2000 – used a number line and published with a jacket priced at $22.95.

The Minpins (illustrated by Patrick Benson) Jonathan Cape, 1991 – used a ‘Special Presentation Proof’ sticker on the first interior page stating a limited edition of 500 unsigned copies and published with a jacket priced at £8.99.

Note: I believe it was the original intention for this edition to be signed but Dahl died before it was published.  Aside from the limitation page it is identical to the trade edition.

The Minpins (illustrated by Patrick Benson) Jonathan Cape, 1991 – used a standard statement and published with a dust jacket priced at £8.99.

The Minpins (illustrated by Patrick Benson) Viking, 1991 – used a number line and published with a dust jacket priced at $16.95.

More Tales of the Unexpected  Michael Joseph, 1980 – used a standard single statement and published in an unpriced dust jacket.

My Uncle Oswald  Michael Joseph, 1979 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at £5.50.

My Uncle Oswald  Knopf, 1980 – used a standard ‘First Edition’ statement and published with a dust jacket priced at $8.95.

My Year (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1993 – used a number line and published with a dust jacket priced at £8.99.

My Year (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1993 – used a number line and published with a dust jacket priced at $14.99.

Over To You  Reynal & Hitchcock, 1945/1946 – used a single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at $2.50.

Note: There was an interrupted print run in December of 1945; stopped because of concerns that copyright attributions to some of the short stories appearing in (and sold to) various magazines were not listed on the copyright page.  A corrected printing, containing the magazine attributions, was run in early 1946 and is generally considered the ‘first edition’.  Reynal published a second print run of the 1946 version in which the book itself is identical.  There was a ‘second printing’ statement on the upper front flap of the dust jacket.  The initial 1945 run without the magazine listings on the copyright page is extremely rare, perhaps the rarest of all Dahl’s books.  I have seen only a single copy surface in forty years.

Over To You  Hamish Hamilton, 1946 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at 7s/6p.

Revolting Rhymes (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1982 – used a standard single statement and published without a dust jacket and priced at £3.95

Revolting Rhymes (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Knopf, 1983 – used a number line and was published with a dust jacket priced at $9.95.

Rhyme Stew (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1989 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at £7.95.

Rhyme Stew (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1990 – used a number line and published with a dust jacket priced at $14.95.

Roald Dahl’s Guide to Railway Safety (illustrated by Quentin Blake) British Railway Board, 1991 – used authorial copyright statement with the date of their publication followed underneath by ‘Published by British Railways Board’ published in softcover and not priced.

The Roald Dahl Treasury (various illustrators) Jonathan Cape, 1997 – used a number line and published with a dust jacket priced at £19.99.

The Roald Dahl Treasury (various illustrators) Viking, 1997 – used a standard single statement found after numerous © dates as the final listing of 1997 and published with a dust jacket priced at $35.00.

Someone Like You  Knopf, 1953 – used a standard ‘First Edition’ statement and published with a dust jacket priced $3.50.

Someone Like You  Secker & Warburg, 1954 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at 12s/6d.

Note: this edition was missing two stories contained in the Knopf edition: The Neck and The Great Automatic Grammatisator.

Someone Like You  Michael Joseph, 1961 – used a standard single statement that included the wording: ‘This revised and expanded edition…’  Published with a dust jacket priced at 15s net.

Note: this edition restored the two stories missing from the Secker & Warburg edition, making its contents identical to the original Knopf edition.

Some Time Never  Charles Scribner & Son, 1948 – used the standard single statement with the usual ‘A’ below and published with a dust jacket priced at $2.75.

Sometime Never  Collins, 1949 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at 8s 6d.

Note: when searching for copies, it is wise to note the difference between the U.S. and U.K. titles (i.e. the U.S. version uses a single word ‘sometime’ and the U.K. uses the two words ‘some’ and ‘time’.

Songs and Verse (various illustrators) Jonathan Cape, 2005 – used a number line and was published with a dust jacket priced at £14.99.

Note: the U.S. version was entitled Vile Verses.

Switch Bitch  Knopf, 1974 – used a standard ‘First Edition’ statement and has the Borzoi dog logo blind stamped on the rear board.  Published with a dust jacket priced at $5.95.

Note: There is a version that has the ‘First Edition’ statement but lacks the Borzoi logo and where the jacket is not priced.  I believe this is a book club version.

Switch Bitch  Michael Joseph, 1974 – uses a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at £2.75.

Tales of the Unexpected  Random House/Vintage, 1979 – published in soft cover with a ‘First Edition’ statement and not priced.

Note: an omnibus hard cover volume entitled Twenty nine Kisses From Roald Dahl was published by Michael Joseph in 1969 as a tie-in for a new T.V. serial.  It contained all the stories found in ‘Kiss Kiss’ and ‘Someone Like You’.  There were no new stories in this omnibus and it served as the basis for a later U.K. edition entitled ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, which did not contain any new stories, unlike the U.S. softcover version of the same title, which added one new story.

The Twits (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1980 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at £3.50.

The Twits (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Knopf, 1981 – used a number line and published with a dust jacket priced at $6.95.

Two Fables (illustrated by Graham Dean) Viking, 1986 – used a limitation page stating the copy number of 300 copies and signed by the author.  Published without a jacket and not priced.

Note: Of many copies I have seen offered, I have only come across one copy of this with a slipcase.  I don’t know if this was a box specially made by an owner as it seems unlikely that all the others would have lost their slip cases.

Two Fables (illustrated by Graham Dean) Viking, 1986 – used a standard single statement and was published with a dust jacket priced at £5.95.

Two Fables (illustrated by Graham Dean) Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1986 – used a ‘First Edition’ statement and was published with a dust jacket priced at $12.95.

The Upsidedown Mice (illustrated by Antony Maitland) contained in the Puffin Annual Number One, Penguin Puffin, 1974 – used a standard single statement and was published without a dust jacket and priced at £1.20 and $3.65.

Note: I believe the idea for this story began with a small sketch entitled ‘Smoked Cheese’ that Dahl had published in the November, 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly’ magazine.  It was later expanded into a larger work first published in the Puffin Annual Number One and then published in the Jane Merer collection.  It provided the germ of the idea for ‘The Twits’.

The Upside-down Mice (illustrated by Quentin Blake) contained in ‘The Upside-down Mice and Other Animal Stories’ compiled by Jane Merer – Piccadelly Press, 1988 – used a series of © attributions with the final one for Merer as the compiler of the collection, then dated 1988.  Published without a dust jacket and priced at £7.99.

The Vicar of Nibbleswick (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Random Century, 1991 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at £6.99.

The Vicar of Nibbleswick (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Viking, 1992 – used a number line and published with a dust jacket priced at $12.50.

Vile Verses (various illustrators) Viking, 2005 – used a number line and published with a dust jacket priced at $25.00.

The Witches (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Jonathan Cape, 1983 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at £6.50, the rear flap of which does not have a copyright attribution to Quentin Blake.

Note: the first jacket is unique to this issue as the second print has the same pricing but the lack of a copyright attribution to Blake on the bottom of the rear flap.

The Witches (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1983 – used a limitation page outlining limitation of 300 copies and signed by Dahl and Blake.  Published with a slipcase and not priced.

The Witches (illustrated by Quentin Blake) Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1983 – used a standard First American Edition statement and published with a dust jacket priced at $10.95.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More  Knopf, 1977 – used a number line, no pictures of the Mildenhall Treasure and published with a dust jacket priced at $5.95. 

Note: Knopf has two nearly identical versions of this book.  Both versions have a complete number line and the same price, but one was published without a set of pictures of the Mildenhall Treasure and one with the pictures.  Since the Knopf edition preceded the Cape and the Cape edition was published with the pictures, I surmised that Knopf changed its mind and published a new ‘first print’ that matched the Cape with the pictures.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More  Jonathan Cape, 1977 – used a standard single statement and published with a dust jacket priced at £3.50.

Writer’s Notebook (first published as part of the video kit ‘The Author’s Eye’)  International Merchandising Corporation/Random House – used a set of copyright attributions with a statement of 1988 for the publishing company being the last.  Originally in a box that was not priced.

————————————————————————————————————

DAHL’S SHORT STORIES

THE FIRST PRINTINGS

A Fine Son (or Genesis and Catastrophe) – Playboy, December, 1959.

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life – The New York Times in September, 1974 and republished in the short story collection of the same name 1989.

An African Story (or Black Mamba) – in the short story collection ‘Over To You’ 1945.

A Piece of Cake First Story-1942  – published in the collection ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More’, 1977.

Note: Dahl wrote two stories based on his personal flying experiences in WWII: ‘Shot Down Over Libya’ his first publication (published in ‘The Saturday Evening Post’, 1942) and ‘Missing – Believed Killed’ (published in ‘Tomorrow’ magazine in 1944).  This story takes the two earlier stories and reworks them into a single story for the Henry Sugar book.

Beware of the Dog – Harper’s, October, 1944.

Bitch – Playboy, July, 1974.

Black Mamba  – in the short story collection ‘Over To You’, 1945.  (Using this title the first publication was in Man’s Magazine, October, 1952.

Claud’s Dog – in the short story collection ‘Someone Like You’, 1953.

Note: part of a quartet of related stories including: The Ratcatcher, Rummins, Mr. Hoddy & Mr. Feasey).

Collector’s Item (or Man From the South) – Colliers, September 4, 1948.

Death in the Square – Telegraph Weekend Magazine, December 24, 1988.

Note: The Telegraph commissioned this Christmas ‘seasonal thriller’ with an added twist in authorship.  Four famous writers in the genre each wrote one part of the story. Ted Willis, Ruth Rendell and Peter Levi joined Dahl in the writing of the story.

Death of an Old, Old Man – Ladies Home Journal, September, 1945.

Dip in the Pool – The New Yorker, January 19, 1952.

Dog Race (or Mr. Feasey) – The New Yorker, July 25, 1953.

Edward the Conqueror – The New Yorker, October 31, 1953.

Galloping Foxley – Town and Country, November, 1953.

Genesis and Catastrophe (or A Fine Son) – Playboy, December, 1959.

Georgy Porgy – in the short story collection ‘Kiss Kiss’, 1960.

He Plowed Up $1,000,000 (or The Mildenhall Treasure) – The Saturday Evening Post, September 20, 1947.

Note: Not only was this story collected in ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More’, but was later published as a separate book with illustrations by Ralph Steadman.

In the Ruins – World Book Fair Programme, London, 1964.

Note: In the Ruins is a truly odd addition to Dahl’s short story output.  It is only a few paragraphs long and was supposed to be published in the collection Kiss Kiss (1960), even to the point of being included in the setting copy for the printers, but dropped at the last minute.  It wasn’t published until 1964 when it was put in the official program for the 1964 World’s Book Fair held in London.  It was picked up the following year and published in King Magazine (a rare magazine for collectors) and made its first appearance in the ‘11th Annual Edition: The Year’s Best SF 1966’ (see listing in books). I have seen no other listing for its publication.

Katina – Ladies Home Journal, March, 1944.

Note: first published as a piece of fiction, it was later reworked and used in Dahl’s biographical ‘Going Solo’.

Lamb to the Slaughter – Harper’s, September, 1953.

Lucky Break, How I Became a Writer – published in the short story collection ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More’, 1977.

Madame Rosette – Harper’s, August, 1945.

Man From the South (or Collector’s Item) – Collier’s, September 4, 1948.

Missing: Believed Killed – Tomorrow, November, 1944.

Note: This was one of Dahl’s earliest publications; one of two pieces based on Dahl’s personal flying experiences in WWII, the other being his first professionally published work ‘Shot Down Over Libya’, that was published in ‘The Saturday Evening Post’ magazine in 1942.  Dahl later reworked these two stories into a single story entitled ‘A Piece of Cake’, which was published in ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.’  In terms of collecting Dahl, this magazine is perhaps one of the rarest of any of Dahl’s material.  Aside from a copy in the Dahl Museum, in forty years of collecting Dahl I have only come across one other copy.

Mr. Botibol – published in the collection ‘More Tales of the Unexpected’, 1980.

Mr. Feasey (or Dog Race – also part of Claud’s Dog) – The New Yorker, July 25, 1953.

Mr. Hoddy (Part of Claud’s Dog) – published in the collection ‘Someone Like You’, 1953.

Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat – Nugget, December, 1959.

My Lady Love, My Dove – The New Yorker, June 21, 1952.

Neck – published in the collection ‘Someone Like You’, 1953.

Nunc Dimittis (or The Devious Bachelor) – Colliers, September 4, 1953.

Only This – Ladies Home Journal, September, 1944.

Parson’s Pleasure – Esquire, April, 1958.

Note: On a personal note, this is my favorite of all Dahl’s short stories.

Pig – published in the collection ‘Kiss Kiss’, 1960.

Poison – Collier’s, June 3, 1950.

Princess Mammalia – published as one of two stories in ‘Two Fables’, 1986.

Royal Jelly – published in the collection ‘Kiss Kiss’, 1960.

Rummins (Part of Claud’s Dog) – published in the collection ‘Someone Like You’, 1953.

Shot Down Over Libya – Saturday Evening Post, August 1, 1942.

Note: This was Dahl’s first professional publication, written at the encouragement of C.S. Forester (author of the famous Hornblower books) and started his career as a writer.  It was one of two pieces that Dahl based on his personal flying experiences in WWII, the other being ‘Missing – Believed Killed’, that was published in ‘Tomorrow’ magazine in 1944.  Dahl later reworked these two stories into a single story entitled ‘A Piece of Cake’, which was published in ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.’  This issue is must for any serious Dahl collection. 

Sitting Pretty (or The Champion of the World) – The New Yorker, January 31, 1959.

Skin – The New Yorker, May 17, 1952.

Smoked Cheese – The Atlantic Monthly, November, 1945.

Note: This very small whimsy in the Atlantic held the germ of an idea that first lead to a longer story and was then used in plotting the ‘The Twits’.

Someone Like You – Town and Country, November, 1945.

Taste – The New Yorker, December 8, 1951.

Note: This was the story that caused Alfred Knopf to champion Dahl’s work.  It was therefore an important work in Dahl’s early career.

The Amazing Eyes of Kuda Bux – Argosy (Popular Publications) in July, 1952.

Note: There were two magazines with this name at this time, one in the U.K. and one in the U.S.

The Bookseller – Playboy, January, 1987.

Note: There is a striking similarity in the plot for this story and a story by James Gould Cozzens ‘Clerical Error’ published in the early 1950’s.  Apparently the Playboy editors were not amused.

The Boy Who Talked With Animals – in the short story collection ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More’, 1977.

The Butler – first published in Japan in a now unknown publication, the next publication was in the U.S. softcover short story collection ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, 1979.

The Champion of the World (or Sitting Pretty) – The New Yorker, January 31, 1959.

The Devious Bachelor (or Nunc Dimittis) – Colliers, September 4, 1953.

The Girl Without a Name (or Meet My Sister or Engaging a Minx) – Today’s Woman, November, 1951.

Note: Possibly the rarest and certainly the least known of all the Dahl short stories, this one was never published in any collection and saw only three printings before it disappeared into obscurity.  Dahl gave it the original title of Meet My Sister, but the title was changed to ‘The Girl Without a Name’ by the first publisher.  The second print was in The Woman’s Journal (the Dahl Museum gave a date of December, 1951 but this proved to be incorrect and was likely the date that Dahl sold the story to the Journal.  I have not established the actual date of this publication).  The third publication was in the Sydney Sun in September, 1952 under the Minx title.

The Great Automatic Grammatisator – in the short story collection ‘Someone Like You’, 1953.

The Great Switcheroo – Playboy, April, 1974.

The Gremlins – Cosmopolitan, December, 1942.

Note: This was an early draft of what eventually became Dahl’s first book and was published to promote the movie that was never finished.  There are substantial differences in the text and pictures between this version and the Random House book, published in 1943 when it was apparent that the movie was not going to be finished.

The Hitchhiker – The Atlantic Monthly, August, 1977.

The Landlady – The New Yorker, November 28, 1959.

The Last Act – Playboy, January, 1966.

The Mildenhall Treasure (or He Plowed Up $1,000,000) – The Saturday Evening Post, September 20, 1947.

Note: Not only was this story collected in ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More’, but was later published as a separate book with illustrations by Ralph Steadman.

The Princess and the Poacher – published as one of two stories in ‘Two Fables’, 1986.

The Ratcatcher (Part of Claud’s Dog) – published in the collection ‘Someone Like You’, 1953.

The Soldier – published in the collection ‘Someone Like You’, 1953.

The Sound Machine – The New Yorker, September 17, 1949.

The Surgeon – Playboy, January, 1988.

 –

The Swan – published in the collection ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More’, 1977.

The Sword – The Atlantic Monthly, August, 1943.

Note: first published as a piece of fiction, it was later reworked and found new life in Dahl’s biographical ‘Going Solo’.

The Umbrella Man – published in the U.S. softcover ‘Vintage Book’ collection ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, 1979.

The Visitor – Playboy, May, 1965.

Note: There is a striking similarity in the plot for this story and a small section of a book by Dod Orsborne entitled ‘Master of the Girl Pat’ (Doubleday, 1949 – ref: pp 58-60).

The Way Up To Heaven – The New Yorker, February 27, 1954.

The Wish – published in the collection ‘Someone Like You’, 1953.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar – published in the collection ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More’, 1977.

Note: This story draws on the real-life Kuda Bux, a character that Dahl wrote about in his story ‘The Amazing Eyes of Kuda Bux’ (see above).

They Shall Not Grow Old – Ladies Home Journal, March, 1945.

Vengeance is Mine, Inc. – published in the collection ‘More Tales of the Unexpected’, 1980.

William and Mary – published in the collection ‘Kiss Kiss’, 1960.

Yesterday Was Beautiful – published in the collection ‘Over To You’, 1945.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s