Manon Lescaut – The Abbé Prévost (Doubleday, 1960-1961)

When i started my book collection i found it a little bit tricky to find good information on which dust jackets Warhol actually had designed. So far there is no book about these that i know of and no list like Richard Forrest’s excellent list on the record covers on rateyourmusic. There are a few pretty good articles here and there but it soon became obvious that these didn’t cover all of his work in this area. This particular book i had never seen mentioned anywhere until Guy Minnebach tipped me off to it’s existence.

As with The Red and the Black this wasn’t incredibly difficult to find once i started looking for it. And the way of action was pretty much the same – find about 10 different editions on Amazon or abebooks, email a bunch of sellers and wait for some images while you keep your fingers crossed. Surprisingly this method has proven to work quite well so far. But of course you need to find some listings in order to have something to investigate. And pretty soon i’ll be stuck with just a few holes on my collection that will be hard to fill using this approach. Guess i’ll have to come up with a new strategy after the summer vacation…

Anyways, i thought i got this from Amazon but i can’t find it in my order history so i guess it must have been from abebooks. I also can’t remember when it was exactly or what i payed for it but it’s been on the shelf for quite some time, and i remember that i thought i made a great deal. Up until just now i actually thought the title was The Abbé Prévost and that the authors name was Manon Lescaut. But it seems it’s really the other way around. As it turns out Manon Lescaut appears to be a short novel by the french author Antoine François Prévost, there is also an opera with the same name by Giacomo Puccini based on the novel. I chose to blame my ignorance on the fact that i’m not particularly into opera and/or novels from the 18th century. I also don’t think i’ve ever seen an author namned with the definite article – “the”. Maybe this was common back in the day?

As with The Red and the Black this was published by Doubleday and on what i think i’ve now learned is called an imprint that was called Dolphin book, or maybe just Dolphin? It also seems to be some uncertainty as to what year this was published, there is no year stated in the actual book and my (among many other things) “book mentor” Guy Minnebach has the year put down as 1960(?) and on this listing on Biblio they claim that it was published in 1961. So who knows, i’ll go with 1960-1961 just to hedge my bet a little bit. To me it has the same “feel” as both The Red and the black and The Grand Mademoiselle which were both published in 1960 so it can’t be that far off.

In my book (pun intended) there is not much to say about the condition. For a paperback that’s over 50 years old i think it’s in excellent shape. There are some tiny, tiny smudges on the front cover and some minor foxing or other discoloration to the top. It’s also a little beaten up along the edges and so on, but i think the front drawing is still nice and clear. So all in all nothing to complain about.

Warhol is of course credited with the drawing and this other guy namned George Giusti is credited with the general cover design. I tried to find some information on him and it seems he did quite a few covers for Doubleday and others, here’s a few examples. I had never heard of him before but right away this cover caught my interest and for a moment i once again thought i had found “my” Warhol cover, but it seems i’ll have to keep looking…

Oh, and thanks again for all your help, Guy!

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Hunting butterflies in Alabama!

I still can’t catch a break. Mary Lois Timbes actually did have a copy of The Butterfly Tree but as expected she was in no hurry to sell it. Which is of course understandable, especially since she knew Robert Bell. She was also well aware of the fact that Warhol did the cover, so even if she had wanted to sell it i think my plans of a stealthy purchase would have fallen short. She also told me that the author Robert Bell was from Birmingham, Alabama and advised me to try and locate some book stores in that area. All said and done, in my first attack i’ve now email-bombarded about 25 different stores that i could find online. Just need to keep looking for more…

She also informed me that the second printing of her book used part of Warhols design, i’ve seen this cover here and there but never really reflected on that, not until now. I don’t know for sure but i assume that Warhol did the design of the tree as well as the drawing(?).
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Trying to stay persistent…

I’ve found that as i get older i seem to lose a lot of patience. I’ve played guitar for about 25 years and in the beginning i was of course terrible, but i remember that seeing (or maybe hearing) the progression was a lot of fun and a great motivation to keep at it. However, in later years i seem to have developed a speciality of making myself think that i’d probably be good at this or that and that trying would be a lot of fun. And i’ve also apparently made it a mission to spend quite a bit of money in pursuing these new hobbies. First out was my new found but apparent lifelong dream of getting into photography, i’ve spent A LOT of money on cameras, lenses, flashes and what not. If i hadn’t done that i would probably have had a good chance of seeing both Trombone by Three and a real The Nation’s Nightmare on my wall. The number of times i’ve actually found the energy to carry all this crap with me and try to be “serious” are easily counted. I rarely sell anything either thinking that maybe, just maybe i’ll pick it up again in the future…

Most recently i’ve also tried both painting and drawing. Both with absolutely laughable results. But i had a lot of fun buying pricey paper, canvases as well as dozens of pencils, brushes and other stuff for hundreds of dollars. I don’t quite know what it is though, naturally i do realize that i don’t have any natural talent and that i of course need practice to improve. And most likely i would improve would i just keep at it and not give up as soon as i’ve tried it and been shown the evidence of way less than mediocre ability staring back at me from the paper or canvas. But instead i chose to accept the sad conclusion that all of this is the result of age related lack of patience.

So… with this bitter history and questionable behaviour in mind it was with a bit of skepticism i started my Warhol collection. And i guess you could compare the realization that i draw like a five year old to the fact that my collection of Warhol covers will most likely never be complete. Both insights can be quite off-putting in terms of keeping the fun in it and to keep the motivation high. But for some reason this was different. Much credit goes to my friends in the WCCC who is an never ending source of information and motivation. It great to have like minded people to share thoughts, ideas and highs and lows with. But even before i was granted membership in the club and got to add the social aspect of it all i still, oddly enough, found it fun to keep checking ebay every single day and seeing the same images and hits on Google day in and day out.

For me, a big part of what keeps it all so interesting is that every once in a while you find some little loose end or something that you think and of course hope might lead to something really cool. I feel i’ve had a bit of bad luck with these endeavours so far but i’m certain my luck will change sometime. And sometimes you even get to learn new things. Today i’ve learned that you can see who uploaded images to Amazon and if you are lucky that person has also added contact information on their profile page. One of the books on my wish list on Amazon is of course the recently discovered book cover by Guy Minnebach and i’ve now contacted the woman who uploaded the image. She obviously must have had it at one point, let’s just hope that she still does and might be willing to part from it.

Today i’ve also made a longshot attempt of getting a hold of one of the (i assume) most rare dust jackets – The Butterfly Tree by Robert E. Bell. I have seen this on ebay a couple of times by the same seller listed for about $600-700 which of course is a bit out of my price range. So… after a bit of looking around i found this blog post from 2006 by a woman and author namned Mary Lois Timbes. Apparently she wrote a book namned Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree, she seems to have been good friends with Robert E. Bell and the book, among other things i’m sure, contains letters between her and Robert E. Bell. I’ve seen this book a few times before looking for the other one but i never thought to look into it a bit more until today. Anyways, she also had contact information on her blog so i’ve tried to contact her also to see if she might have a whole box of them laying around and that she might be willing to part from one of them at a more managable price.

As always i try to keep my expecations low when it comes to these things. And even though it can feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall most of the times i think this is a good example of what still makes it all so much fun!

UPDATE: As expected nothing came of the “Amazon image stalking”. The book was part of a collection the uploader was cataloging and that was later sold.Bummer.

Sneak preview…

Lady luck seems to have chosen to shine on me once again. At least i think so, as with quite a few of the books i’ve found so far i’ve only been able to find that one copy. And since i always jump on the opportunity i don’t really know if i’m getting a good deal or not, but most times my general feeling has always been that i am.

This is one of my favourite dust jackets and one that i’ve been trying pretty hard to find. As with many of the others i’ve not seen it anywhere since i started collecting the books, i have seen an old listing on Etsy from two years ago or so though. But that hasn’t brought me much joy, only frustration. At least up until now.

As always it took a little bit of work to get a hold of some images. The listing said “chipped dust jacket, otherwise decent shape” or something like that. Which can pretty much mean anything between a complete disaster to a really nice looking cover, and i don’t really want to buy something like this without seeing it first. Anyways, i finally got to see some images this morning and it’s looks good enough.

Terrified that someone would steal it from me i also didn’t want to waste time trying to get the seller to ship it outside the US so instead i shipped it directly to Frank Edwards without asking first, but i’m pretty sure it’s OK.

So… the images i got weren’t great but here’s a sneak peak at what’s to come. A great looking dust jacket and i can’t wait to get my hands on it, love it!

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Artie Shaw – Any Old Time 7″ EP

I have a soft spot for EP’s and singles. It’s neat little format, almost like a CD but still leaves room for some cool artwork and has somewhat of the same feel as an LP. There are some, not a lot, but some EP’s with Warhol covers. Richard Forrest has put together a great list here. Unfortunately most of these are quite rare. And some, like Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr and maybe also Latin Rhythms by The Boston Pops are more like crazy rare. And of couse, also crazy expensive. I’ve seen a few copies of the Both Feet in the Groove and I’m Still Swinging EP’s here and there, some even at a Swedish internet shop but these were in pretty bad shape so i decided to leave them be.

So, apart from the Ratfab single and the different William Tell records i think this is my first Warhol EP. That’s not mentioning some of the mock-ups i got from Richard Forrest though.

Artie Shaw – Any Old Time (RCA Victor – EPA-5013)

This has been on the shelf for quite some time. I think i got it sometime last summer or autumn but i’m not really sure. And i also can’t remember what i payed for it but i think it was somewhere around $20-25. I hadn’t really been looking for it at the time and just happened to stumble upon it pretty much by accident. I haven’t been following this record since then either but there is one copy on ebay right now for a BIN price of $30, so it would seem i neither made a great deal nor got ripped off.

Once again though i am puzzled to see that, as with the William Tell record, apparently there are (at least) three different variations of this record also. There is of course the LP and then this EP with the catalogue number EPA-5013, but looking at Frank Edwards blog i was surprised to see his 7″ had a completely different catalogue number – RPX 1308. Would love to hear my fellow WCCC members thoughts on this. It would seem though that i still have one more of these to find.

The condition is very good, close to great i would say. One thing that i noticed though was that the quality of the actual photo on the front cover is noticeable worse on the EP than on the LP. The coloring of the “Artie Shaw” on the front is also a little bit different, red on the LP and pink on the EP. The front cover isn’t that interesting though, it’s what on the back the counts. The design on the back is bascically the same. The only difference is that on the LP the chain of clocks runs in a straight line along the right hand side, and on the EP the chain is chopped of in the middle and positioned more in the center. They also switched the order slightly, on the EP the bottom three clocks from the LP is on the top and vice versa.

Thought i had posted the LP already but turns out i hadn’t, but i’ll save that for a later post…

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It’s been a good week…

I’m paranoid about a lot of things but if packages will show up or not is usually not one of them. I have however been a little worried these last couple of weeks concerning the actual content of some of my latest bargains. But as expected there was no cause for alarm. First off, The Madhouse in Washington Square arrived last week without any issues and yesterday i got a nice looking copy of The Adventures of Maud Noakes and then finally today i got my long awaited copy of A Program of Mexican Music. Even though the latter was in a little worse shape than i expected it’s still been a great week and it feels good to finally get to tick the box on another record cover.

And one more thing, The Abbé Prévost has actually been sitting on the shelf for a while. I just haven’t had time to post it, but things look better in threes, or something like that…

More on all these later…

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The Madhouse in Washington Square – David Alexander (Lippincott, 1958)

It seems my previous “fear” about the details and shipping of this book was uncalled for. It arrived last week and everything was more than OK. I don’t know exactly what it was that made the seed of doubt or skepticism start to grow but i guess it was basically the fact that i had a hard time getting into contact with the seller.

As usual when i find something like this i immediately get paranoid and start to think that someone is going to snatch it from me. In this case i found it, emailed the seller and when he didn’t reply in 15-20 minutes i just had to place an order. I then emailed him again saying i only wanted it if it was the book displayed in his image and that if not he should go ahead and cancel the order but nothing happened. And then the payment seemed to bounce back or something, so more emails followed and finally after a filed claim with Amazon he promptly replied… I might have some “stalking” issues i need to work on, that and my mental dilutions that people are going to steal recently found bargains from me in an instant.

Anyways, back to the book itself. The only other time and place i’ve seen this book since i started my collection was on this listing on ebay a year or so ago. It has annoyed me more than once that it didn’t sell and of course that it ended just around the time that i started my book collection. I have stalked that seller also and after a couple of emails it turned out it is now sold…

About the condition i think it’s one of my better ones. The only real issues that were not visible in the sellers image or noted in the description are the remains of an old price tag in the top right corner and a small ~2cm tear on the top left corner, besides from those little things it’s generally in great condition. Most of the books i’ve found so far have been protected by some plastic mylar thing but this one isn’t. I don’t know what effect (if any) this has on the value, but considering that on some of the books the actual paper is pretty frail i think i’m going to try and find some protection for this one also. I was looking at the first couple of pages to find the year it was published and when i closed the book i thought i made the tear to the top left so i cussed myself out for not being careful but i see now in the pictures that i took before i started fooling around with it that the tear is present so it seems it was already there…

What’s behind the cover seems to be a standard murder mystery story. The Madhouse in Washington Square appears to be the name of a pub/tavern frequented by some social misfits. And when one of them finds a failed writer beaten to death i guess it’s all set for a classic whodunit novel, i found a short review here. This also explains parts of the drawing – the restaurant, bar and café signs and whatnot… I wonder what it is that he’s holding in his hand though, perhaps it’s the murder weapon? Anyways, it sounds pretty good, i started reading The Immortal but it didn’t really caught my interest so i might give this one a go instead. After all, summertime is the time for reading thirteen to the dozen murder mysteries.

Considering i’ve never seen this listed anywhere before i was very happy when i found it and even more so when it arrived and it turned out to be the correct edition. It seems my memory is short but i think i payed about $25-30 for it, and even though the previous auction on ebay found no buyers at about the same listing price i’m still very happy with this and i think i made a very good deal.

I also have another book that i haven’t posted yet that i got a couple of months ago and i’m also currently waiting on a copy of The Adventures of Maud Noakes that the seller claims has the Warhol dust jacket, but that was also a real bargain so once again we’ll see what shows up. I wish i could keep adding record covers to my collection at the same pace as dust jackets. It’s been a while since i found something exciting but who knows what tomorrow night will bring…
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