Borderline Ballads – William Plomer (Noonday Press, 1955)

This is probably my favourite of the dust jackets that i’ve come across so far. When i first started collecting these i got the impression that this was one of rarest ones and that finding one would prove to be very difficult. So i almost fell out of my chair about 4-5 weeks ago when one day i saw it listed on ebay for a very humane $40. I was even able to do a little bit of haggling and eventually got it for $30. I’m not really sure how rare it is though, especially since noted collector Guy Minnebach has made me aware that there are plenty more Warhol dust jackets out there than i initially thought. Whatever the case, rare or not i still think that for $30 this was a real steal. There is one copy on ebay without the dust jacket listed at about $65 and there is also one at Etsy that has the jacket for $115.

The condition isn’t great though. A little bit of discoloration, a piece torn off on the front cover and a smudge here and there. But to me this isn’t to bad for a book that’s over 50 years old, i’m more than happy with it. And since this is a bit of a lifelong side project on a small budget i think it’s more fun to pick up whatever books i can that are in at least decent condition than to wait years and years for a nice copy to show up that also has to end up being affordable.

Under the dust jacket is a collection of poems by William Plomer, written over the course of almost 30 years though it apparently isn’t the first time that some of them are published. This collection was published in 1955 by Noonday Press and a cool thing is that Warhol didn’t only design the dust jacket. He also did the design for the title page as well as the calligraphy for the titles to all the poems.

I particularly like how the design extends across both the front and back cover. Pretty clever. I also like the coloring and the fact that the horse, donkey or whatever is talking is pretty funny.

EDIT: I’ve just learned from Guy Minnebach that Warhol in all probability won one of his Art Directors Club award for this design. His hall of fame page don’t mention the Borderline Ballads specifically but it does credit his work for Noonday Press for one of the awards, so most likely this was it. Thanks for the info Guy.

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