The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French. Various, Captain James Humphrey Cotton Minchin, dozens of contributing authors and artists.
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French
The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French

The Legion Book, the extraordinary limited issue of the first edition, finely bound and signed by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 85 prominent contributing writers and artists, and four prime ministers - three British and one French

London: Privately printed by The Curwen Press for H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, 1929. First edition, limited issue, signed. Leather-bound. This is the exquisitely bound limited issue of the first edition, signed by 90 individuals including the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VIII), 85 contributing writers and illustrators - a stunning constellation of leading lights in British literature and arts - as well as four prime ministers. The First World War is often eclipsed by the conflagrations of the latter part of the twentieth century, notably the Second World War and Cold War. But it was the First World War that truly stunned civilization, ushering an age of inconceivable carnage and industrialized brutality. When war came in August 1914, prevailing sentiment held that the conflict would be decisive and short. “You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees,” Kaiser Wilhelm assured his troops leaving for the front. More than four extraordinarily bloody years followed, lasting until the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. In his own history of WWI, Winston Churchill wrote: “Overwhelming populations, unlimited resources, measureless sacrifice… could not prevail for fifty months…” The British Empire alone suffered more than 900,000 dead and two million wounded. At the end of WWI, the pension for a totally disabled man was only 30 shillings a week and no claim could be made seven years after discharge. In May 1921 several ex-servicemen’s organizations were amalgamated to form the Royal British Legion. Thereafter, the Legion actively involved itself with employment and pensions for both able and disabled ex-servicemen or their dependents. The Legion Book was commissioned by the Legion’s patron, H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII and, after abdication, the Duke of Windsor). Sale proceeds were dedicated to the Legion. The 85 contributing artists were among the most talented British subjects in their fields, including Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling, P.G. Wodehouse, Aldous Huxley, Vita Sackville-West, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Augustus John, Eric Kennington, and John Nash. The book was edited by James Humphrey Cotton Minchin (1894-1966), a WWI veteran of the Cameronians and the Royal Flying Corps. Trade editions ran to multiple printings. There was also a 600 copy limited edition. 500 of these were signed by the editor, but “the first 100 were reserved for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, sponsor of the volume, in his gift.” These hundred were simply magnificent - printed in red and black by The Curwen Press on larger, hand-made paper, profusely illustrated, extravagantly bound in elaborate blind and gilt-tooled white pigskin, and signed by H.R.H. and 89 luminaries. Massive volumes, they measure 13 x 10 x 2 inches and weigh 6.6 pounds. This unusually fine example is hand numbered “68” on the limitation page. Careful collation confirms 90 signatures – all contributing artists, three British Prime Ministers – David Lloyd George, Stanley Baldwin, and Ramsay MacDonald – and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. The tally is five prime ministers counting Churchill, who signed as a contributor, but became prime minister in 1940. As stated at the end of the contents: “There are five pages of contributors’ signatures following the Dedication, one page opposite Collotype No. 3 and one page opposite Collotype No. 20.” The Prince of Wales signed on the blank verso of the Dedication. The binding is nearly flawless, with virtually no wear and only trivial hints of soiling and minimal handling. The contents are bright and clean, with no spotting. Superlative condition owes to the presence of the original felt-lined cloth clamshell case, with a discreet, inked “No.68” on the upper front cover. The case shows modest scuffing and light wear to extremities. Laid in the case is an original description of this book by noted New York bookseller Philip C. Duschnes, who died in 1970. His tiny gilt sticker is affixed to the lower rear pastedown. Bibliographic reference: Cohen B38.1, Woods B12(a). Item #004713

Price: $18,000.00