Sunday, 3 January 2016

Dust Jackets

A dust jacket usually adds significantly to the appeal and value of a book for collectors.

There were very few chess books published before 1930 issued with a dust jacket and many of the jackets will have been lost. The earliest example in my collection is Morphy's Games of Chess by Philip W. Sergeant published by G. Bell and Sons Ltd., London, 1916.

1916, Morphy's Games of Chess

1923, My Chess Career

The only other example that I have before 1930 is My Chess Career by J. R. Capablanca, second edition, G Bell and Sons Ltd., London, 1923.

Early dust jackets were usually quite plain, with the price on the spine, and were intended merely to protect the book up to the point of sale, after which they were often discarded. Later, more colourful and visually attractive dust jackets were issued and, as these were more likely to be retained, the price was printed on the inside flap and could be trimmed off if required.


Some examples of dust jackets from the 1930's are shown below.

1934, The American Chess Player's Handbook
 1933, Chess for the Fun of it
1938, The World's Chess Championship 1937
1937, Nottingham 1936

1938, Championship Chess

Caution has to be exercised in dating dust jackets with their associated books. Some books are printed and issued with a much later dust jacket than the publication date printed inside the book. 

For example I have A Primer of Chess by J. R. Capablanca, published by Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, with a copyright date of 1935. There are no later dated editions of this book but the dust jacket on my copy has an advert on the back for the Harcourt, Brace and Company edition of Alekhines Best Games of Chess, 1938-1945, by C.H.O'D. Alexander which was published in 1950.

I would welcome details and images of chess book dust jackets before 1930.

                                               © Michael Clapham 2016

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