Friday, November 27, 2020

2020: The Year in Collecting

2020 hasn't been good for much, but it has been good for my collection. It's hard to find editions of Hoyle that I lack, but some early and interesting ones found their way here. 

The first two books are a 1744 Cogan edition of Quadrille and a 1745 Osborne edition of Piquet. I had neither, so this is pretty exciting news! There is a short and a long version to their stories. First, the short. When Osborne acquired the Hoyle copyright from Cogan, he also acquired some unsold copies of Quadrille and Piquet. As discussed in the essay "Every Cancel Tells a Story, Don't It (part 3)", Osborne reissued each of these books with cancel titles. I'd never had the original Cogan Quadrille, though I did have a copy of Osborne's reissue. It is rare with three copies at the Bodleian, one at UNLV and now one here. I had neither issue of Piquet, so one down, one to go. 

first edition by Francis Cogan (1744)
reissued by Osborne (1745)











Now for the long version. These two copies were not individually published. For an example of how Cogan published the individual treatises, see here and for an Osborne example see here. Instead, these were each published as part of collections of all of Hoyle's treatises. The collections included Whist, Quadrille, Piquet, and Backgammon, and occasionally the rare sheet, Laws of Whist, but were advertised, bound, and sold as a collection. The collections can come in many permutations as I discuss in the essay "The Osborne Collections of Hoyle (1745-7)". I don't want to rehash the details here, but the main differentiators are:

  • Whist.6 or Whist.7 (the sixth or seventh edition of Whist)?
  • Piquet.1.2 or Piquet.2 (the Osborne reissue of Cogan's Piquet or the Osborne's reprint)?
  • Quadrille.1.2 or Quadrille.2 (the Osborne reissue of Cogan's Quadrille or the Osborne's reprint)?

The Piquet pictured above came with Whist.6, Quadrille.1.2, Piquet.1.2, and BG.2. There is a separately issued Piquet.1.2 at the Clark Library at UCLA and copies of this collection at the Bodleian, The Library Company of Philadelphia, and the American Contract Bridge League. Uncommon, yes, but a collection I had seen before. 

The second collection, the one containing Cogan's Quadrille.1.1, was entirely new to me. One might expect to find it in a Cogan collection (discussed here), but here it was in an Osborne collection, consisting of Whist.7, Laws.2, Piquet.2, Quadrille.1.1, and BG.2. What was a Cogan Quadrille doing in a collection of Osborne imprints? I can only assume that Osborne neglected to cancel the title page of this particular copy. This is a unique configuration.

The collection includes a copy of the Laws of Whist (see the 2012 essay "An Insomniac's Reward"). It's not quite as rare as I thought when I wrote about it in 2012. I now have two copies as does Vanderbilt. Copies at the Bodleian and UNLV bring the total to six.

Tyson Bookplate

One extra in the book is a partial, but charming bookplate. It should have been easy to identify. The initials S & M T are suggestive and the heraldic elements are simple enough that I expected to find it in the standard references, even with my limited skills. One can deduce the colors from the shading. The oval field is azure and the lozenge vert. There are three lions rampant (standing) regardant (facing backward). Nonetheless, I found nothing. 

I queried the book lists, book friends on social media, and sent out emails to experts. I finally learned from a member of The Bookplate Society that the arms belonged to the Tyson family. The only reference was an 1875 book by Frederick Cansick with drawings of monuments from Tottenham churches. The arms appeared on the grave of Edward Tyson (d. 1723), so the bookplate must belong to a descendant. Heraldry is hard!

Almanach du Whisk (1765)

Three more Hoyles. First is an almanac with a translation of Hoyle's Whist that I bought at auction. The catalogue said that book was dated 1766, but when it arrived something seemed a bit off with the final "I" in the Roman numeral for the date. It does not seem to be letterpress, but rather stamped over a letterpress period that was used to separate parts of the date. Thus, the book is really from 1765 and indeed the calendar, though undated, matches days of the week for 1765 rather than 1766. The bookseller probably had copies left over at the end of the year and was trying to disguise the date.


If someone purchased the book in 1766 for the almanac they would have been disappointed. And I might have been disappointed as well--I already had a 1765 copy, though without the almanac.  But there was a hidden bonus--the brocade endpapers are spectacular. And it is possible to identify the paper maker as Georg Reymund:

brocade endpapers by Georg Reymund

You can see another specimen of the same paper at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Despite the duplication, I am really pleased with the purchase. It's lovely! 

A few weeks ago, I was on a panel sponsored by the Rare Book School called "Collecting & Copyright: Three Case Studies". The video is now available on YouTube. I discussed how the end of the Hoyle copyright led to innovative books at the top of the market and cheap abridgements at the low end. Toward the end of the talk I noted: 

I must confess that I don’t understand the cheaper books as well as I do those that I have called complete. They were the product of the low-end of the trade, often outside of London. You’ve never heard of the printers. They were distributed by mercuries and hawkers rather than the retails shops. In aggregate, there are a huge number of them, but any particular edition survives in but a copy or two. The cheap bindings make them fragile. They were not collected institutionally or by private collectors. My collecting and my research are slowly turning down market.

Two new cheap Hoyles reinforce those comments. They are rare and they have led me to a lot of research. The first is the Card Games of Hoyle printed by Thomas Hughes (1825). I had seen a copy of an 1828 edition at the Bodleian Library, but the lovely colored frontispiece was dated 1825 and I suspected there was an unrecorded 1825 edition. And so there was:

The Card Games of Hoyle (1825)

The book was too small for Mary Turner's bookplate, so she folded it in half before pasting it in. It certainly has an art nouveau 1910c look to it, but I have yet to identify her.

Bookplate of Mary Turner

What is odd is that the book is 100% the same setting of type as the 1828 edition. It's hard to imagine that Hughes would have left type standing for three years, so the book is probably stereotyped. Other stereotyped Hoyles left a lot of evidence about the process. See the essay "Kicking and Screaming into the 19th Century" for an example. This book has no evidence of having been stereotyped, but it must have been.

A similar book, also acquired this year, is Hoyle's Card Games published by Richard Griffin & Co., Glasgow (1827). The book was first printed in Bath in 1824 and there are two Glasgow imprints, one dated 1826 and a reissue dated 1827 with a different title page. The new 1827 Glasgow edition is a different setting of type that the others. It is rare, with only one other copy recorded, and I snagged it on eBay for the sum of $1.00! It was in pretty rotten shape--no cover and pages that were torn and dog-eared. I learned how to do simple paper repairs when I studied bookbinding many years ago, and this was a good candidate. It's still not great, but at least it won't get any worse.

I said the Bath/Glasgow books were similar to the one printed in London by Thomas Hughes. How similar? The text is identical, word for word, up to a point. The last chapter of the provincial books is "A Guide to the Turf" on horse racing. Instead of that chapter, Hughes printed short chapters on the games of speculation, lottery, loto, Boston, and hazard. 
The similarity doesn't end there. There are some anomalies in the Hughes book (1825) that demonstrate a connection with the Bath edition (1824). Hughes has gatherings of 8 leaves and the first two leaves generally signed in each gathering. So page seventeen has a "B" at the bottom, page nineteen "B2" and so in. There are some anomalies in gathering A that make an interesting comparison with the Bath edition:
  • The Bath edition has a two leaf gathering A: the title page and verso, followed by the table of contents and blank verso. The text begins on page one (B1r , signed "B") with the game of whist.
  • The Hughes edition has the title on A1r and the table of contents on A1v. The text begins on page one (A2r) with the game of whist, but that page is signed "B". 
  • In the Bath edition, page five is correctly signed "B3". 
  • In the Hughes edition, page five is A4 and is incorrectly signed "B3".
The Hughes compositor introduced the signing anomalies because he had a copy of the Bath edition in hand! What a satisfying explanation for a signing error!

There were some other 2020 purchases that deserve their own essay.

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