London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1923. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a six-volume British first edition, first printing set of Winston Churchill’s history of the First World War. Full sets thus, in first printing dust jackets, are quite scarce.
When these volumes were published, between 1923 and 1931, booksellers often discarded the dust jackets. Even those spared by booksellers often did not survive. In particular, the 1911-1914 first issue jacket (with a blank rear face) is quite elusive and the 1916-1918 dust jackets are notoriously fragile. The Eastern Front is scarcer still, with substantially fewer copies printed than the preceding five volumes and a jacket nearly as fragile as those for the 1916-1918 volumes.
The binding is square and tight with minor shelf wear to extremities and light, superficial moisture damage to the lower right of the front cover. The contents show no spotting, mild age-toning, and light shelf dust to the top edges. The sole previous ownership mark is a contemporary gift inscription “To Father, the Old Man, | 11th May 1923: | Paul:”. The first printing dust jacket has fractional loss at the spine ends and flap fold corners, a tiny loss at the front flap fold, and light overall soiling. The lower right front face shows faint moisture staining, consonant with the moisture staining to the binding beneath, and a faint rectangular spot of discoloration centered on the price indicates removal of a sticker.
The binding is square and tight with light shelf wear substantially confined to hinges and extremities and a spot of slight discoloration at the lower left rear cover. The contents show no previous ownership marks. Trivial spotting appears confined to prelims and page edges, which also show light shelf soiling. The dust jacket is nearly complete, with minor loss to the flap fold corners, fractional chips at the spine ends, overall soiling, and mild spine toning.
1916-1918, Parts I & II
The bindings are superb – square, immaculately clean, and beautifully bright. We note only some wrinkling to the spine ends and minor color variation on the Part I lower spine. The contents are crisp and bright with no previous ownership marks. Trivial spotting appears confined to the page edges, which also show light soiling. The exceptionally fragile dust jackets show loss to the spine ends and flap fold corners, as well as the almost inevitable hinge and flap fold splits with fractional attendant chip losses. Part I shows fracturing and a tiny hole at the upper spine, above the author’s name. Part II shows a small hole at the lower spine, just above the price, as well as some spotting to the front face and a faint moisture stain at the upper left of same.
The binding is immaculately bright, square, and tight, though with customary blistering to the spine cloth, endemic to this edition. The crisp, bright contents feel unread, with no previous ownership marks and no spotting. The dust jacket has shallow strip loss at the spine head extending onto the upper front panel and fractional loss at the corners and a few points along the front flap fold. The spine is modestly toned and scuffed, the panels comparatively clean with modest toning to the edges.
The Eastern Front
The binding is square, tight, and bright, with light shelf wear to extremities and a few small front cover blemishes. The contents are bright, crisp, and complete with no previous ownership marks, marred only by some soiling to the upper front free endpaper recto and facing pastedown. The dust jacket is substantially complete and in one piece, spared the expected splits to the hinges and flap folds. There is irregular, shallow strip loss at the spine head and intermittent shallow chipping along the top edge of the front face, as well as negligible chipping at the spine heel. The pale green hue of the paper is uniformly tanned on the spine, but red subtitle print remains bright and distinct.
Reference: Cohen A69.2(I).b, (II).a, (III-1&2).a, (IV).a, (V).a; Woods/ICS A31(ab); Langworth p.105. Item #007363