Enablement: Hard to find Folio Society books

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Enablement: Hard to find Folio Society books

Editado: Jul 27, 2019, 6:51pm

Since I first discovered the special bindings thread, I got interested in the occasional special publications issued by the Folio Society. It appears that there are many others here who are looking for these books as well, and not many are listed at any given time. There are a couple that I have never seen listed at all.

I thought it might be fun to have a thread reporting listings of any of these more unusual offerings. Of course it is up to everyone to determine what constitutes hard to find. I think we can all agree that the specially bound books from 1960 are rare (mid double digits produced for each), but other books might be very hard to find on the secondary market as well (e.g. Finnegans Wake, the 2010 Beowulf or certain Fine Editions might be considered hard to find right now right now).

Compared to our standard enablement thread, I would propose not limiting this to great deals, e.g. the leather Shakespeare I list below is hardly cheap at GBP 1750 in imperfect condition, but it is the only time I have seen it listed since I started searching. Of course I propose not allowing to advertise your own listings as usual.

Here are a couple that are on the market right now:

The red leather Shakespeare on eBay UK:

The green leather Bible on eBay UK:

The leather Malory on eBay UK:

All three above are from the same seller.

Here is another blue learher War and Peace on eBay US:

Ago 19, 2019, 7:08am

The 1960 special edition of Hermsprong is listed on Abebooks. Not cheap, discolored spine, foxing and in Australia, but the first one I have ever seen listed.


At only 25 copies made, this might not show up for another couple of years.

Ago 19, 2019, 7:33am

>2 teppi2:
Very interesting and rare, but at that price I would want perfect fine condition.

Ago 19, 2019, 7:42am

>2 teppi2:

Ooh, that's a rare one. Shame no photo to see the extent of the discolourarion otherwise I might be on the edge. Price is a very tight call and I'd worry about the shipping, but I doubt I'll see another one of these. In fine or near fine condition I wouldn't hesitate.

Ago 19, 2019, 7:56am

I think we can feel happy it's not in fine condition because otherwise we'd all end up in a mass brawl over it :)

Ago 19, 2019, 8:19am

>3 wcarter: >4 folio_books: >5 gmacaree: 100% agree it is too expensive for the condition... I would have snapped it up in fine condition or at a much lower price as well. Actually, I made this new thread for these type of listings... interesting to see that these books are out there and are listed every once in a while, but definitely not suited for the "good deals" thread.

My only copy of the 1960 special editions is the Journal of the Plague Year, also with fading to the spine. It actually is quite charming in its own way, as the non-stamped part of the leather has faded, while the stamped part remained black:

I paid much less for that copy, though.

Ago 19, 2019, 8:21am

>6 teppi2:
That looks very nice to my eyes. Like a nice aged patina.

Ago 19, 2019, 9:40am

>6 teppi2: . It actually is quite charming in its own way

I agree. It doesn't appear faulted in any way until, I assume, you compare it with the boards.

Ago 19, 2019, 9:49am

>8 folio_books: Correct, the boards are black, making the fading to the spine clearly noticeable. To compare, a perfect version of this book was posted by mboyne in the special bindings thread.

Interestingly, I also ordered this book from Australia, not sure if it was the same bookseller as the Hermsprong, though.

Ago 19, 2019, 10:34am

>5 gmacaree: I think we can feel happy it's not in fine condition because otherwise we'd all end up in a mass brawl over it :)

Certainly. That's the reason you wouldn't get a fine copy for the price this one is going for. I think I'd settle for a less-than-perfect one, provided it wasn't too obvious.

Ago 19, 2019, 3:14pm

At the risk of starting an international mass brawl, I followed the Hermsprong link above and found six for sale. The most attractive is in GB for about 7 pounds, in near-fine condition. It says 1st printing, 1960!

Ago 19, 2019, 3:18pm

I think there are plenty of the plain vanilla version - but only 25 of the limited edition version ...

Ago 19, 2019, 3:38pm

Ha, well, I wondered if I was seeing a different site in the states than you all!

Editado: Ago 19, 2019, 4:13pm

>11 BluegrassB: In 1960, the Folio Society experimented with offering five of their standard editions also as a limited edition bound in full morocco leather with signature from the illustrator. Limitation for each was supposed to be 250. However, demand proved to be very low for these special editions, and much less than the full limitation was actually bound. Hermsprong had the lowest number of copies made at only 25.

More information can be found in this thread with photos of this particular edition here.

General info on these editions is on the Group Website under the header "Rare limited edition special bindings from 1960"

Ago 21, 2019, 6:30am

>2 teppi2: The 1960 special edition of Hermsprong

I asked for some photos from the seller but it was sold yesterday.

Ene 9, 2020, 2:17pm

On Abebooks, a Canadian Seller (Aquila Books) just posted various copies of the Sandwyk illustrated Wind in the Willows. Interestingly, this collection contains the standard edition with the extra etching limited to 150 copies, standard editions with added artists proof but apparently without the stated limitation and various signed standard editions from the earlier print runs.

None is cheap (all out of my price range), many have faded spines, but quite an interesting batch of books. Looks like the one with the 150 limitation was offered for $1650 in the past (see post here)


As usual, not connection with Seller.

Ene 10, 2020, 6:33am

>16 teppi2:

Thank you. It's interesting to see these different version, though unfortunately some of them aren't in better shape.

Ene 10, 2020, 9:56am

>17 SF-72: I was wondering about that as well. Someone must have to invested quite some efforts to get this collection together. It is strange they would not have protected the books better from sunlight.

I have to admit, I was tempted by the Illustrator's Copy. Very little wear (described as "as new" for both book and slipcase, but I think on the picture there appears to be some minimal bending to the top of the spine). At $569 not cheap, but considering that it seems to have sold at least twice in the $1,500 range per the thread I had linked, this does not appear to be above market price. I am curious what it sold for when it was first issued.

That said, I have to force myself not to buy books for their scarcity. Since I already own this one in the standard edition which is nearly identical except for one page, so I just can't justify the expense. At nearly $600, there is ample choice for beautiful books, and unfortunately book money (and shelf space) is a limited resource for me.

Ene 10, 2020, 12:00pm

>18 teppi2:

I rather like the one with the artist proof, but won't buy it for the same reasons as you. I would have certainly been tempted by the illustrator's edition if I had been an FS member at the time it was offered. But as it is, I already have the standard and the limited edition, which is enough. The one with the original watercolour is also quite beautiful, but really too expensive for me.

Ene 15, 2020, 11:35am

On ebay, the special binding 1983 Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain was just posted (as an auction listing):


The gilding on the spines seems to be mostly intact (I wish they had more pictures, though). All sets I have seen listed so far had significant to complete loss of gilding. That said, the starting price of this listing is very high... certainly too much for me.

Ene 15, 2020, 11:45am

>20 teppi2: the starting price of this listing is very high... certainly too much for me.

Nice set but I agree with you on the price. I'll keep an eye on it to see if it sells. Thanks for the heads-up, anyway,

Editado: Ene 16, 2020, 10:36am

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Editado: Ene 17, 2020, 4:00pm

The 1001 nights red leather 1973 (my personal special binding favourite) was just listed on ebay uk with £0.99 starting bid. Only two photos though so probably a good idea to ask for some more to better verify condition of the leather and slipcase.


No connection with the seller.

Ene 18, 2020, 6:48pm

Maybe not hard to find but definitely hard to find at a fair price is Night Thoughts LE, one is on eBay UK now for 550 pounds ($716 US). Of note, it’s not one of the numbered editions but otherwise identical. I have this set and it’s sublime. https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2...

Editado: Ene 20, 2020, 10:29am

>24 ChampagneSVP:

Yes, that seems an exceptional offer. I can't remember how promptly I bought my copy, whether fairly soon after release, or not very long before the published price rose to, if I remember rightly, £1050.

Ene 20, 2020, 7:50pm

>25 terebinth: US list price was around $2000. I found a used copy for only $760 including shipping around five years ago. £550 is a great price.

Editado: Ene 21, 2020, 5:55am

Similar to two months ago when an unusual number of red leather Malory's turned up, there seems to be a surge of red leather 1001 night at the moment:

A set was just listed for £75 at abe, although mentioned to have bookplates and a little wear on the slipcase, this is clearly a steal at less than £20 per book in full leather bindings!


no connection with seller.

edit: is already sold now it seems

Ene 21, 2020, 10:36am

>20 teppi2: the starting price of this listing is very high... certainly too much for me.
>21 folio_books: Nice set but I agree with you on the price. I'll keep an eye on it to see if it sells.

Well I was dead wrong on that one. Two bids already and there's still four days to go. We can safely assume it's going to sell!

Definitely not for me at that price. I'll stick with my standard edition.

Ene 23, 2020, 1:01pm

The now sold out Foundation trilogy just listed for cheap on eBay. No connection to seller, etc.


Ago 23, 2020, 1:07pm

The 1995 special bound Brideshead Revisited (limited to 100 numbered + some additional lettered copies) was just listed on abebooks for a whooping $480. Certainly way out of my price range (and not suited for the good deals thread), but I thought I could mention it here. Note that it is only described as very good.


wcarter reviewed it in his wonderful archive series HERE.

Editado: Ago 25, 2020, 1:30pm

For UK devotees:


As per >30 teppi2: above, didn’t seem to make sense to post it as a good deal...

Edit: To be fair I note there’s one on eBay for €110 as well. Maybe it’s not that hard to find at this sort of price point.

Edit2: BOTH sold!

Sep 5, 2020, 3:38pm

Limited edition portfolio of signed prints – wood-engravings by Frank Martin for Stendhal’s Scarlet and Black - Folio Society 1965 – ebay auction – ends Tuesday.

There’s a brief mention of this in Folio 60 in the entry (207) for Scarlet and Black 1965.


It’s similar to Warwick’s Two Tales of the Congo portfolio:


Usual disclaimers – no connection with seller.

Editado: Sep 5, 2020, 9:45pm

>32 bookfair_e:
Brilliant find!!

A new thread under the Folio Archives heading has been created for your find at https://www.librarything.com/topic/324035

Editado: Nov 24, 2020, 3:06am

The brown leather bound set of A TOUR THROUGH THE WHOLE ISLAND OF GREAT BRITAIN. No photos, so hard to judge how much of the gilt has rubbed away, but the price seems good enough.

or, slightly cheaper, directly from the seller

no connection with seller.

Editado: Nov 24, 2020, 8:41am

>34 F.Trier: I had actually just asked seller for photos, and hope they do not mind me sharing here. The gilt seems pretty much gone at the spine with some sunning as well, but it is very hard to find the set without this damage. Looking at recent sale prices, this seems to be indeed a very competitively priced set.

Nov 24, 2020, 10:03am

>35 teppi2: hmm, yes they seem to have suffered some loss of gilt. I agree that the price still is reasonable.

Dic 12, 2020, 1:15pm

If anyone objects I’ll obviously delete this post right away, but it seems consistent with the terms of use to state that I’ve put a message on my own wall concerning these out of print and well-mostly-hard-to-find FS books:

Ulysses fine (non-LE) edition
Japanese Tales
Chinese Fairy Tales & Fantasies
The Sound and the Fury standard (or is it fine?) edition

Dic 12, 2020, 2:42pm

>32 bookfair_e:

There’s another set of these prints listed on ebay:


Usual disclaimers.

Dic 12, 2020, 5:21pm

>35 teppi2: >36 F.Trier: I'm not sure about the gilt: the bookseller has now added their own image that seems to have been taken under better light and the gilt seems fine.

I actually want that book, but I have a particular backlog of 3-volume sets staring at me from the shelf and daren't add another right now.

Dic 12, 2020, 5:55pm

>39 ubiquitousuk: The new photo posted by the seller confuses me a bit, because it does not appear to be the same set displayed in the pictures they send to me.

I am almost certain that the set in the pictures on Abebooks is not the special leather binding, but the standard cloth binding instead. This is most clearly noticeable by looking at the slipcase: the special edition is plain brown, as you can see in the following post. Also, the texture of the cover just seems incorrect for the leather edition. Not sure what to make of this.

Ene 18, 3:35am

Red leather Austen from 1984 for $350 at abebooks in the US. Seems to be in very good condition albeit with a slight mark on the spine of Persuasion.


No connection with seller.

Editado: Ene 18, 2:52pm

>41 F.Trier: The bookseller should send you a commission check, as the set is now gone, and I strongly suspect someone from this forum jumped over there to snatch it up! I mean, considering this leather set was priced at less than the full price of a set of the current editions on Folio's site, I'd consider it quite the deal.

Ene 18, 3:24pm

I think Warwick has every hard to come by Folio book, ha! Certainly the Waugh edition.

Ene 19, 2:35am

>42 whytewolf1: I agree, it was certainly more than what I paid for the same leather set a while ago.

Ene 19, 3:51am

>30 teppi2:
>43 LesMiserables:
Now there is an even more expensive Brideshead Revisited LE lettered edition for sale.
My copy can be seen here.
Seems I got a bargain!

Ene 19, 9:15am

>45 wcarter: I remember seeing that exact same listing on Abe last year, so I think it has been there for a while. Presumably a price that high is above the currently thin market for this particular title. At one point I was considering picking up a copy of this edition because it is one of my favorite works by Waugh, and I have a weakness for that style of binding—half leather octavo with marbled boards—but I came to the conclusion that the choice of marbling didn’t fit the novel’s style (or at least not well enough to justify a major purchase).

Ene 21, 4:27pm

>42 whytewolf1: Caught! It was indeed a forum member--me--who saw the leather Austen post and jumped at the opportunity.

>41 F.Trier: Thank you for pointing out this listing. I'm sure the seller (who's been great to work with) appreciates it too!

I apologize for the delay in confessing but I wanted to make the set had arrived safely before jinxing myself by celebrating prematurely. I haven't seen listings for this red leather version of the otherwise ubiquitous Austen set come up often and I've been wanting to add this to my collection. The books arrived today and the leather is gorgeous in smell, feel, and appearance. (The mark on Persuasion is not as prominent as it appeared in the seller's photo.) They feel great in the hand and I love Joan Hassall's engravings.

Two other similar "special bindings" I consider gems in my collection, and which I learned about through this VERY expensive forum, are the blue leather 2-volume War and Peace and the quarter-leather, marbled-sides edition of Brideshead Revisited.

On the hunt for a nice cream leather Decameron...

Thanks all for the continued enablement.

Ene 21, 11:25pm

>47 goldenbowl: Nice! Congratulations on the set. I shall have to add it to my (very long) wishlist, as well. :D

Ene 22, 4:24am

The original Jane Austen novels were published with simple paper covers in the years 1811-1819. The buyer would be expected to have them bound in leather in their own personal preferred style for their books.

The First English Editions of Jane's novels which come up for sale still in their original publisher's wraps are much sought after and are very rare.

As one or two of Jane's novels were published in both France and the US in her lifetime (without her knowledge and no question of any royalties) collecting these might be an interesting pursuit.

Ene 22, 11:30am

>47 goldenbowl: Glad to hear someone here jumped at the listing and that the apparent flaw was not as pronounced as could be inferred from the photos.

Ene 22, 2:26pm

>49 English-bookseller: "The buyer would be expected to have them bound in leather in their own personal preferred style for their books."

That's fascinating. I didn't know that!

Ene 22, 7:58pm

>51 whytewolf1: It was quite a common publishing arrangement in the 19th century through early 20th century. Later on, many high-end publishers would offer the choice of either a cursory publisher's binding (usually in cloth), or a cheaper unbound copy in sheets. Arion Press still does this.

Ene 22, 8:37pm

>52 -Ophidian-: Very interesting; thanks for that tidbit. And yes, I saw that Arion still does this. I have to admit that I was a bit mystified by this at first! lol But I eventually read somewhere that it was for people who wanted to have their own custom binding done.

Ene 23, 1:45pm

Hi all,

I had been looking for a reasonably priced copy of Howard Carter’s Tomb of Tutankhamen for a while now. I finally took the plunge and ordered one off of eBay for $170 USD.

Wondering what the consensus is. Did I overpay at this point in time, or is $170 reasonable?

Hope everyone is well

Editado: Ene 23, 4:31pm

>54 Akes: That sounds ok to me (though not a bargain)

I am a big fan of it, and if I didn’t own a copy would be willing to pay this for a copy

Ene 23, 2:51pm

>54 Akes: There aren't many copies available on the secondary market and the cheapest on abe is £145 (about $200) so you don't seem to have overpaid at all. If you get $171 or more's worth of pleasure from reading it then it's a bargain. Enjoy!

Ene 23, 3:28pm

Sold mine On ebay auction for £115 (started at £100)2 weeks ago. That’s about $160

Ene 23, 3:49pm

>54 Akes: I think it's a good price, based on what the asking prices are for those still available. I hope you enjoy it!

Ene 23, 11:28pm

>54 Akes: For goodness sakes, the original list price was $162.

Feb 6, 3:11pm

There’s a Bronte box set on eBay with starting bid of $25; hard to find one preserved like this without any apparent fading to the silk spines. Slipcase seems to show damage though. Probably worth asking the seller for some more pictures.