Book Collecting/book query


QUESTION: I have book with title on front cover "General Gordon". Seems very old and refers to subjects brother still living and he died in 1887. Book has blue cover with subjects name in gold panel on front and spine. Front also has reddish flowers on front and spine. Publisher is Scott Publishing and is "by the authors of Our Queen, New World Heroes, Etc. It has picture of Gordon on first page
pages are gilt edged. I have searched various websites but have not found information concerning this particular edition.
do you think this is a first edition. What might it be worth. I believe it to be in good condition for the age.

many thanks.

ANSWER: Hi, this may be the edition that was written by Reginald Henry Barnes, and this Walter Scott edition dates to 1892 - there is a copy in Manchester university library.  It appears to have been first published under the title Charles George Gordon, a Sketch, in 1885 by Macmillan and co.  Scott normally published rather cheap editions, often used for Sunday school prizes, and not of any great commercial value.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I believe our book was published prior to 1888 as it refers to Gordons brother (who died in 1887) as "still living".

many thanks.

You are right it was originally published in 1885. - but you have a reprint of that original text, published according to the British Library in 1892.  The reprint would just contain the same text as the original, in the same way a modern print on demand does.  There is a difference between date of publication and the date of the first edition. Hope this helps.  Walter Scott editions are notorious for not stating the date they were published, in order to make them seem current.  

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Tony Fothergill


With over 30 years of experience I can assist with questions on most subjects relating to book collecting, and antiquarian books. I specialise in books on the arts, literature, gardening, architecture, travels to Italy and France, as well as manuscripts and documents.


I have been a leading rare book dealer for over 30 years. I am a member of the main Book Trade Associations, ABA, ILAB, and PBFA. A council member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, and in 2014 Chairman of the International London Rare Book Fair, held at Olympia. My shop was established in 1948.

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