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Franklin Library 100 Greatest Books Of All Time

Easton Press Collectors

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Aug 23, 2011, 2:36pm Top

Any opinion on this set? Especially with related to EP's series. I have been holding off subscribing to EP because I have always been quite interested in them but I am not sure of their quality vs. EP? Anyone with hands-on experience

Edited: Aug 23, 2011, 4:54pm Top

I purchased the original series when it was offered in 1974. I have all the books and the 25-volume extension they later offered. I think the quality is better than EP's. The look and feel of the leather as to texture and grain is different from the EP books. They also smell like real leather. The moire endleaves and ribbon markers are color coordinated with the leather color. Each volume came with a 20-page booklet about the book, the author, the illustrations and other features of the book. I suggest you check out the Franklin Library Group on LT. There is more thorough info there you find of value. Here is the link:


Aug 23, 2011, 5:13pm Top

Thanks Tom, I really appreciate the info. I am really considering collecting these individually off ebay or abe. Could you offer any more advice for what to look for or avoid. I also understand that there are different grades of leather and quality.

Aug 23, 2011, 6:05pm Top

Can anyone tell me about the FL volume Tales of the South Pacific? I have two of them: one is green with palm branches and the other is black with war scenes. I don't intend to keep both. Which one is the keeper? It looks to me like the black is not leather, but that's the one I prefer as far as the cover design goes.

Edited: Aug 23, 2011, 6:48pm Top

>4 indigosky: The green one was published in 1975 for the Pulitzer Prize fiction series. It has moire endleaves and genuine leather binding.

The black one was published in 1986 for the Pulitzer Prize Classics series. It has marbled paper endleaves and a low quality leather.

There was also a third publication in 1982 for The Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers series. It is blue-gray in genuine leather with moire endleaves.

In short, the green and blue ones are of equal quality; the black one is of somewhat lower quality.

Aug 23, 2011, 8:11pm Top

Thanks, Tom!

Aug 23, 2011, 9:15pm Top

>3 ironjaw: The quality is the same for all the books in the original 100 Greatest series which ran from late 1974 into 1982. The series name is "The 100 Greatest Books of All Time". The books will be from those years, since FL did not reissue their series year after year as EP does. For this reason, I'd be conscious of the condition; some of the moire fabric colors may have faded around the edges as was discussed recently in another thread. Since the cost of these is relatively low, you might buy one and see how you like it. Ultimately, it's what satisfies your expectations and pleases you.

Aug 24, 2011, 1:13am Top

Oh my, so much for sleep tonight!

> 1
I now have 98 of the 100 FL Greatest Books (long story for another time perhaps). I find this introductory series to be outstanding and in their top 3 or 4 series. I also find it every bit as collectible as EP. Personally, I like the cover designs and leather quality of the Franklins better, but I find the illustrations often more copious and more appeling in the Eastons. This is all the more reason to own/collect both!!!!

2 > Tom41 - what is this you report about a 25 book extension in the Franklin Library 100 Greatest Books of All Time series? Please provide more info as this is the first I've heard about this and, unless I misunderstand your post, might be the most shocking news I've heard all year (second only to EP's completely incredulous claim that there was insufficient interest to publish a DLE of Gibbon).

> 7 Tom may have left out the most important part: be careful when purchasing these. Get a good list with accurate year info as there are inferior hardback/faux leather versions of every single title in the 100 Greatest out there masquerading as real genuine leather FL books. Many sellers either naively or deceptively advertise real leather when in fact all they offer are the knockoff imitations. I have mixed feelings about Franklin's strategy here. While I can applaud the whole choice between a premium and bargain version of the series in that it will put literary classics in more hands (never a bad thing), it certainly complicates the collecting (though I doubt FL had much concern with the difficulties of book collectors operating in a secondary market while they were still around) and IMHO artificially holds down the price on the full leather versions due to the ready availability of cheap and less desirable alternative versions.

Ironjaw, the key to spotting the difference if you don't already know is to verify the presence of or ask about the end pages and the presence of the silk bookmarker. Only the genuine leather premium sets came with silk moire end pages and a matching silk bookmark. The cheap faux versions had paper end pages and NO ribbon. Also, their spines looked distinctly more flat or square relative to the boards whereas the leather books had a more attractive bowed or curved spine with hubs.

Aug 24, 2011, 9:15am Top

>8 UK_History_Fan:-2nd pt. Near the end of the original series, FL offered a 25-volume extenstion to all subscribers at or close to the same price as the originals. The additional books did not come with "Notes from the Edititors" booklets nor was there any reference inside to the series. I think they were books from other FL series (World's Best Loved Books and Pulitzer Prize Fiction) from which they removed the series references and then rebound them. The quality is equal to that of the original series' books.

Aug 24, 2011, 5:32pm Top

>To all above!

Thank you all so much for the advice. I must say that I am more and more finding the FL books appealing compared to EP. I can say that yes it would be more of a comfort just subscribing to EP Greatest Books but the thought of hunting down FL especially since they contain silk ribbons and silk moire end pages feels like the more of a challenge I am willing to take just to satisfy myself mentally.

However, UK History, I more worried about falling pray to lesser quality volumes as you describe. Thank you for the heads up. I will definitely check for silk moire end pages and silk ribbon, etc. I would love to see some pictures of your FL books

Aug 26, 2011, 3:41pm Top

I personally have about a quarter of the 100 Greatest series from FL and for sure they are much better then the standard EP (100 Greatest Books). However, I have a few Famous editions from EP and must say that these are exceptionally well done and compare very well with FL. If I had to chose between FL Greatest series and EP Famous editions, I'd say that EP do win by a very small margin.
Nevertheless, I am slowly collecting the FL series and do hope to own the whole thing as it is definitely a great investment.

Mar 2, 2012, 7:14pm Top

Who wants to quit their jobs, buy whatever rights/etc that remain from the Franklin Library and go into business and compete with EP?

First LE set out will be Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Who's with me?!

Mar 2, 2012, 7:15pm Top

As an amateur bookbinder, I would enjoy it. However Gibbons wouldn't be my first "off the press".

Mar 2, 2012, 7:21pm Top

I was going by what appeared to be group consensus on this board.

Since you appear to have intentionally set me up for this... WOOTLE, what would be your first book off the press? ;)

Mar 2, 2012, 7:29pm Top

Lots of options, and no I wasn't setting you up, per se. Maybe a nice little Poe Raven edition. Perhaps a cool Hobbit, although that would be expensive.

I have the six volume Gibbons, and find it good enough. I don't know what else Easton could do to it to make me want to buy it in DLE. I probably could say that about some of the others as well I suppose.

May 29, 2012, 9:53pm Top

I just bought 32 more Franklin's... I think all from the 100 Greatest, but I have to go through them. Will post more on some of the details, but paid $37/volume on average.

So far my favourites are Faust (truly gorgeous cover), Treasure Island (Wyeth illustrations), Divine Comedy (Dore illustrations), Arabian Nights (multi-coloured)... all of which I have never seen in stores despite years of collecting.

I left behind a few gems like The Iliad/Odyssey (I have a different Franklin Edition that is two-toned) and War & Peace (never seen it in Franklin before today). I'm still debating going back but my ass hurts.

I have a question - if you were to find something too good to pass up, could you pass up on it? Would you limit yourself to a number of books or a dollar limit? Would you force yourself to not buy duplicates? Turns out this store just got these put up today before I cleaned them out.

May 30, 2012, 9:43am Top

I have experienced that it is wise to have a limit and not to force oneself into a desperate position when it comes to buying books. The FL books are relatively inexpensive and can be found easily. I bought Arabian Nights for around $60 and a couple of weeks later saw the same volume sell for 30. So if you wait and keep checking the listings you will be able to get many FL volumes from the 100 Greatest for $20

May 30, 2012, 11:47am Top

>17 ironjaw:

I suppose it also depends on location. I don't buy many books online because shipping charges generally make the books more expensive then getting them in my local shops.

I would anticipate that the United States has the best selection, followed by Canada and then the UK.

The problem I now have is that I am starting to duplicate between Eastons and Franklins and even between different Franklin collections. I'm starting to think that I should focus on Franklin's Greatest of All-Time and then supplement only when other editions are not available in the top 100 series. Did Franklin eventually modify their 100 list to 125 titles like Easton did?

May 30, 2012, 1:02pm Top

I found an answer to my question... additional 25 FL titles are from the Pulitzer Prize series, it seems.

May 30, 2012, 2:36pm Top

I made a list of all the EP books that are NOT sold in the Franklin Library 100 (125) Greatest of All-Time. The only questionable one is Shaw, as EP has two books of his plays and Franklin has one. I've assumed (correctly or incorrectly) that FL did not produce these additional two plays.

3) Alhambra - Irving, Washington
5) Sherlock Holmes - Doyle, Sir Arthur
9) Birds and Frogs - Aristophanes
10) Brave New World - Huxley, Aldous
20) Descent of Man - Darwin, Charles
32) Heart of Darkness - Conrad, Joseph
33) History of Early Rome - Livy
37) Ivanhoe - Scott, Sir Walter
38) Jude the Obscure - Hardy, Thomas
40) Plague Year - Defoe, Daniel
49) Jekyll & Hyde - Stevenson, Robert
52) Of Mice and Men - Steinbeck, John
62) Plays-Browning - Browning, Robert
67) Portrait Artist - Joyce, James
77) Rubaiyat - Khayyam, Omar
79) Sea Wolf - London, Jack
80) She Stoops - Goldsmith, Oliver
81) Oscar Wilde - Wilde, Oscar
82) Dickens Short Stories - Dickens, Charles
83) Symposium - Plato
88) Talisman - Scott, Sir Walter
95) Uncle Tom's Cabin - Stowe, Harriet
98) The Way of All Flesh - Butler, Samuel
102) Notre Dame De Paris - Hugo, Victor
103) Cyrano De Bergerac - Rostand, Edmond
105) Sleepy Hollow - Irving, Washington
106) Frankenstein - Shelley, Mary
107) Count of Monte Cristo - Dumas, Alexandre
108) Pygmalion/Candida - Shaw, Bernard
109) Dorian Gray - Wilde, Oscar
110) Time Machine - Wells, H.G.
111) Holy Bible
112) Poems - Dickinson - Dickinson, Emily
113) Beowulf
114) Middlemarch - Eliot, George
115) Billy Budd - Melville, Herman
117) Animal Farm - Orwell, George
118) Les Miserables - Hugo
119) Lady Chatterley - Lawrence, D.H.
121) Dracula - Stoker, Brahms
122) Silas Mariner - George, Eliot

May 30, 2012, 3:10pm Top

> 17

I expect The Arabian Nights sells for a premium most times due to the beautiful two toned binding. It's one of the best quality Franklin's I've seen. I paid $59 for mine.

Title's I've paid $60 or over for...

Idiot, The (Famous Edition)
To Kill a Mockingbird (my idiocy)
Gone with the Wind (beautiful leather copy)
Ivanhoe (my idiocy)
Fellowship of the Ring, The (EP will not ship this title to Canada)
Hobbit, The (EP will not ship this title to Canada)
Return of the King, The (EP will not ship this title to Canada)
Simarillion, The (EP will not ship this title to Canada)
Two Towers, The (EP will not ship this title to Canada)
War & Peace (I think this generally sells for a premium)
Invisible Man, The (my idiocy)

...all these were purchased online, I believe... so I include the shipping charges. It's always much cheaper to get my books from local sources since shipping from the United States and UK is very expensive.

May 31, 2012, 11:15am Top

Where are you located, I guess not in the UK or US

May 31, 2012, 11:49am Top

Hmmm ... I'll hazard a guess ... Canada?

(not much of a guess -- message #21 mentions no fewer than 5 times that EP wouldn't ship certain titles to Canada)

Jul 24, 2012, 12:36pm Top

Hello, I own the full set of 100 Franklin Greatest Books of All Time, sadly not the 25 extensions, and am looking to sell, they have been gathering dust and could really do with a better home.
I would gladly take any advice on whether to sell them individually, as a full set, through which website or directly to a buyer or whatever. I have no experience whatsoever at selling these sorts of things, and my natural instinct is to put the full set on eBay, but I worry this isn't the best move.
Thanks for any help

Jul 24, 2012, 12:58pm Top

>24 peterwilmott:
You will probably get the most for them selling them individually. My set cost me about $3,000-$3,500 CAD bought individually... but I generally only buy them in person since it's hard to tell as a buyer if you are getting the faux leather, quarter leather or full leather editions.

I would ensure you list them as "FULL LEATHER" and include ample pictures.

Good luck.

Jul 24, 2012, 5:44pm Top

I can tell you that I am buying FL books especially from the 100 Greatest from ebay. I have at the moment about 6 volumes, eg. the beautiful edition of Arabian Nights (I am seriously thinking about buying another), Aeneid, Chekov, Decameron, Moby Dick and Ulysses. I live in Denmark and I assume your in the US?

Unfortunately, I will have to pause my purchases for the next two months, August and September due to I am buying a new car and a persian cat for my niece :-) It's all so hard with all those recommendations from others here at LT about HP, LEC and FS books :-)

Just out of curiosity I would love to know how much you will be selling them for individually or as a set, condition, and if you have any ephemera? I assume they all are full leather.

Jul 26, 2012, 4:05am Top

Thanks for the help so far,
They are full leather, with all ephemera (the editors notes pamphlets?) , the condition is abslutely excellent, most books have never even been opened, and you can tell this when starting to open them as they are stiff etc. They were bought in the 80's but used purely decoratively, then inherited and since have been stored in boxes.
I'm based in London, and in terms of price I see there are two full sets listed on eBay for $4000 and $4400, but I am trying to get a valuation as I don't really know anything about this. And I would much rather sell them as a full set for convenience.

Jul 26, 2012, 5:37am Top

Thanks, do let me know what the appraisal will be?

Jul 26, 2012, 5:47pm Top

> 27, 28
At the risk of stepping into a negotiation that is really none of my business, I will say that I purchased a complete set of 100 with notes for around $2800 and I have definitely seen them go for less than $3K here in the US with some regularity. Perhaps the London/Euro market is more expensive since it is more rare over there.

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