25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy / Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother

I forgot one thing in yesterdays little summary, maybe because i’m still shell shocked after finding something Warhol-related that’s even remotely interesting on swedish ebay-site Tradera. This thing is nothing absolutely spectacular but to see anything on that site besides overpriced prints is a very rare thing.

It’s hard enough to find some of Warhol’s dust jackets but for anyone looking for the challenge of a lifetime there are also a couple of privately published books that of course are both incredibly rare and incredibly expensive. Two of these are 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy and Hole Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother. I don’t know more about either of these than any other guy who’s able to use Google but if we start with 25 Cats… it was privately printed and published in 1954 and despite the title it consists of 16 drawings of cats namned Sam and naturally also a drawing of a blue pussy. Fairly good images of them all can be seen here, there you can also get a decent idea of this price of one of these. Ouch! Anyways, a guy namned Charles Lisanby who apparently was a good friend of Warhol’s at the time is credited as the author and from what i understand the reason for this is that he came up with the title. It appears there is also some uncertainty about how many copies were actually printed, the title page or whatever states that the total edition is 190 copies but i’ve read here and there that there might only have been about 150 copies produced. Whatever the case all copies were hand colored and numbered and most of them ended up as gifts for clients and friends. The calligraphy was done by his mother Julia Warhola and apparently Warhol was amused by little errors and imperfections so he didn’t want to correct her misspelling of “name/namned”. And besides that, who would ever think it was a good idea to correct your own mother?

25-cats-name-sam-and-one-blue-pussy-credits

I don’t really care how many copies that were actually printed but i am a little courius as to how many survived. The wikipedia article on the book mentions that a mere three copies has been located but has no reference or source for one of them. I doubt someone is keeping track and constantly updating that page though, so who knows. Anyways, the auction i linked to above with the images is from 2014, here is another one from 2007 at Christie’s that mentions that the copy is dedicated to Paul Cadmus and here is very recent one from some german auction house called Ketterer Kunst. I can’t read german but with a little help from google translate it seems that last one was not really for the book but instead had all the pages individually framed. So yeah… who knows how many are still in one piece, but there seem to be more than three copies floating around. And needless to say i don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare, so this thing is not going to happen anytime soon.

It’s a little more tricky to find information on Holy Cats, but the general facts are pretty much the same. This was also privately printed and published but i’m not really sure if this was also handed out to friends and family but i would guess that was the case. This article on Julia Warhola claims the book was published in 1957 as does the “official” or whatever Warhola family site thing. I’ve also seen a lot of “circa 1950’s” but i see no reason to not go with 1957. I’m also not sure about how many were printed, i’ve seen the mention of anywhere between 50 and 100 on a couple of sites but yeah, who knows… Between the covers are (if i counted correctly) 19 drawings of cats and angels and each drawings also has a short little sentence following the same pattern of “some do this or that… some don’t” Or something else that some don’t do… I quite like these texts and think they are pretty witty. Here is a pretty good site with images of all the drawings. Up until recently i actually thought this was also illustrated by Warhol, which considering the title makes me feel a bit stupid. But i’ve now learned that the work is generally attributed to Julia Warhola without any involvment from Andy. I guess that’s of the reason why this book is actually not THAT rare and won’t cost you a fortune. Naturally it’s not something you see on every shelf in every store but for example there are four copies on Amazon right now. Besides being on Amazon the book has also been sold at some “fancier” auction sites, here and here are two old listings from Christie’s and here is another auction from some Phillips site which also included the book A is an Alphapet. I’ve also seen just the cover for the book up for auction at a swedish site here, i was the only bidder at $50 and with an estimate of $400 or so of course my bid didn’t meet the reserve, but i won’t go after that with guns blazing if it comes back up. But it’s always fun and interesting to see Warhol related stuff on swedish sites, especially something as rare and obscure as this.

So… with both of these having the price tags that they do you have to settle for the next best thing. And the next best thing is usually a reissue or reproduction. Luckily there is a facsimile with both of these books included in a little box thing. I’ve seen the set on Amazon and Abebooks for a while and prices usually start at around $100 so in common fashion i’ve been waiting for something to turn up at a bargain price. I don’t keep track of Warhol items on this swedish site Tradera, the only thing i get from there are usually old NES games. Anyways, at the start of the summer i happened to see this box with a starting bid of just $10 or so, and i ended up being the only bidder so i can’t complain. Not a fantastic or thrilling find or item by any means but i do love these pre-pop drawings and i’ve wanted to get the box eventually. So all in all a great deal for a great set of books!

There seem to be two editions of this box, the first being published in 1987 by Random House and then another one published a year later in 1988 by Chatto & Windus which is an imprint of Random House. I have no idea if there are any small differences between the two editions but i would guess they are exactly allike and i got the one by Chatto & Winus, like many other books and editions i think it’s as simple as one US and one UK edition. This seller claims that his copy is numbered and that the facsimile edition, like the original, should be limited to 190 copies. I’ve not seen any mention of this anywhere else and my copy is not numbered so i don’t know if i believe his claims, and who cares anyway… Whatever the case i think both books are pretty cool and i’m happy to add them to the pile!

Ps. I just got word from Frank Edwards that the $9 ticket price for a chance in The Adventure of Maud Noakes lottery paid off and that i was the lucky winner!

Sunday, monday, happy days!

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2 thoughts on “25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy / Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother

  1. $10 only? Wow Niklas great find! I had a look at the edition I have, it’s even another one, published by Herscher for the French market. But just like you, I think they are all the same. (Well I see one smaal difference: mine has a barcode at the back of the slip box, yours does not, which is always nicer…)
    About the seller who writes these books are numbered, silly that. The 25 cats… book is a facsimile print of copy nr. 4/190, and this numbering is also printed facsimile inside the book.
    Congrats for the Maud Noakes, and the Butterfly Tree. Glad to hear all works out fine. Love to see pictures very soon!

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