July 22, 2008

Facsimile Dust Jackets

As any seasoned book collector can tell you, the presence or lack of a dust jacket can seriously affect the value of a collectible book. This is especially the case for all genres of early fiction where a pre-WWII jacket can increase the value three or four-fold in some cases. Books issued after, say 1965, that do not have their original dust jackets are generally of little value to first edition collectors.

Initially, book publishers and even collectors placed little emphasis on jackets believing them to be nothing more than a marketing tool while the book was on the bookseller's shelf or simply as a protector for the book itself. By WWI however, collectors began to have second thoughts as they now came to view the dust jacket as an integral part of the book itself.

Such is the importance given to these artistic wrappings that recent years have seen the rise of a cottage industry dedicated to the production of vintage facsimile dust jackets that collectors can then match up to their jacketless first editions. It must be stressed and cannot be overstated that from an ethical standpoint, these modern reproductions must be identified as such and therefore do not increase the first edition's value at all beyond the price of the facsimile. Collectors buy them simply for their artistic merit and as conversation pieces. Unfortunately, the handful of facsimile dust jacket websites that I've discovered online are all dedicated to various fictional genres. These sites include Lady Bluestocking, Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC, and Recoverings, which is solely dedicated to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

If anyone out there is aware of a site that reproduces vintage Civil War dust jackets, please let me know!

2 comments:

alan hewer said...

Different war i know but I have a website that shows dustjackets on works of World War 1 literature which might be of interest to other military book collectors.
www.greatwardustjackets.co.uk
Cheers,
alan hewer

Paul Taylor said...

Alan,

Thanks for the info! As my man Fox Mulder once said, "I want to believe" that somewhere out there somebody is ready to produce obscure and vintage ACW jackets!

Paul