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In the latest Easton catalog, Holiday Selections 2009, is a Kelmscott's Chaucer. It looks impressive and pricey at $594 USD or six "easy" payments of $99. Limited to 425 copies.
Easton Kelmscott's Chaucer
I have never owned a fine, limited edition, it is quite tempting. Has Easton printed this book before? I know that Folio has had a couple issues. The catalog has more pictures.
EP has certainly printed the Canterbury Tales before, but as far as I know not the Kelmscott's Chaucer. It is pricey, but not more pricey than the that of the FS, and in fact I do believe it looks better :)
My guess is that this will sell out very quickly. 425 is not exactly a lot, and EP books are very collectible.
Is a very tempting book... unfortunately my poor command of English wont make me able to read and understand this late English prose... I tried once and most of the words I was looking for wasnt present on my OED dictionary..
I am not buying any more expensive books this year, I am not buying any more expensive books this year... Do you think that it will help if I keep repeating it?
The more you say the mantra, the more it will embed in your mind that you DO want it :) The best way I have right now of talking myself out of it is to think of something else for $600 I want, like a new Digital SLR camera..... But then there is the interest free installments... ah oh....
I wonder how many copies they have left?
Think they'll sell out quickly? If they do, will you be saying "dang... I knew I should have ordered one..."
I ordered mine and it arrived on 11/27. It is more beautiful than I imagined. But this bad boy weighs 25 lbs. Not exactly light reading ;) Once in a lifetime investment. I figure it's worth it.
By the way my book is number 207. If they ship
in order they are half way sold.
>9 salsadj: Fantastic! I still have the catalog open to that page sitting in front of me, haunting me.
11.5" by 17", holy crap. I refuse to purchase this book entirely on the grounds that I have absolutely no place to put it. Curse this itty bitty house o'mine.
Having pre-ordered the book, my copy arrived on October 1 -- so it looks like 200 copies have been sold in two months.
Here are some pictures:
EP Kelmscott in its box
EP Kelmscott cover detail
EP Kelmscott cover close-up
EP Kelmscott number page
EP Kelmscott illuminations 1
EP Kelmscott illuminations 2
EP Kelmscott illuminations 3
This book is huge!! The paper feels almost like linen -- very different (and much more luxurious) than the paper used in other Easton Press publications. The gold-on-white cover is actually much prettier than one would think from the brochures, with gorgeous embossed details. All in all, it is a book to be coveted, rather than read!!
SilentInAWay thank you so much for the pictures, we're all very grateful. I'm nearly sold on this thing because of your efforts.
Does anyone know whether the original Kelmscott's illuminations were in colour or were they in black and white like EP's edition?
I've now purchased a copy of the Kelmscott from EP.
Expect a visit from my wife. REALLY hope you've got good running shoes :)
15: thanks for the beautiful pics! I have to wonder... how does one go about reading such a book? :) I'm guessing you need a beautiful table, some nice slippers, a fireplace, and maybe some peanut brittle (don't get the book smudged though)!
18: any idea how many are left?
... and a Middle English dictionary! :) I was looking up the Kelmscott on several internet sites and it does not appear that a more modern translation was used. I might be wrong...
It's not a translation: in fact, it isn't even the most modern edition of the original Middle English text (that would be the one in The Riverside Chaucer). It is the W.W. Skeat edition, which was the authoritative text in the late 19th century until it was superseded by F. N. Robinson's edition.
Most of the words are understandable, with a little thought to context, but there are a few that require a bit of critical apparatus. Thanks to Wikipedia, here's a fine side-by-side comparison from "The Summoner's Tale":
This frere bosteth that he knoweth helle, This friar boasts that he knows hell,
And God it woot, that it is litel wonder; And God knows that it is little wonder;
Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder. Friars and fiends are seldom far apart.
For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle For, by God, you have ofttimes heard tell
How that a frere ravyshed was to helle How a friar was taken to hell
In spirit ones by a visioun; In spirit, once by a vision;
And as an angel ladde hym up and doun, And as an angel led him up and down,
To shewen hym the peynes that the were, To show him the pains that were there,
In al the place saugh he nat a frere; In the whole place he saw not one friar;
Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo. He saw enough of other folk in woe.
SilentInAWay your photos was so outstanding I couldnt resist to give a direct image here in our forum, thank you again for posting them!
Well gang, it looks like the book is officially sold out http://www.eastonpressbooks.com/leather/product.asp?code=2290. Congrats on those who got to own this piece of art.
Wow. I've been going to the website guessing when it'd be sold out. I'm so glad I ordered my copy (though haven't received it yet). Thanks again SilentInAWay for your persuasive photos!
Congrats to everyone. I decided to skip the Kelmscott and get my new camera!
My pleasure -- I should have mentioned, you'll also be pleased with the protective packaging...although you may need to recruit the neighbors to carry the box in!
Since it was limited to 425 editions I had to get one. Received it and it sure was a delight! Full white leather, black print with a trace of red designs. Paper with an interesting archival texture, appears it will last for centuries for contents. As of today we now know they sold out mid December, even with the high price 0f $595 there was such a high demand. In a few months they will be offered once again in stores such as abebooks, but at a steep price. Would not be surprised if they triple. This edition will be on the top charts for reference, one of the greatest & rarest books offered by Easton Press
Just received my copy, #216. As of this moment, all I will say is
To buy the original, it would be priced between 60k-100k. I will stay with the Easton Press edition...
I do wonder what extra large volume next will be offered..
I get the feeling EP was doing this offering as a way of testing out the water. such an expensive edition selling out so fast must give them a good reason to keep going.
What do you guys think? What would be a good book to make into a deluxe edition?
How about the complete works of Shakespeare, in a beautiful illustrated edition, with the FIRST FOLIO TEXT!! That would make me happy :)
They've done that--the 39 volume reprint of the Limited Editions Club Complete Shakespeare--for my money the most beautiful edition ever published of Shakespeare's works.
I know, the Complete Shakespeare is gorgeous, but I don't have room for 39 volumes of Shakespeare! I want something...smaller :)
and hopefully less expensive (the complete Shakespeare is over $2000 if I'm not mistaken).
Is this the Complete Shakespeare that is currently sold by Eason, or is it something else?
I was referring to their previous "The Greatest Shakespeare Library Ever"--the current multiple-volume Shakespeare is not the reprint of the old LEC edition.
I just received the Easton press Kelmscott Chaucer last night (copy 223). My wife thinks I am crazy as I already own the much more expensive Folio Society edition and a couple of others. I don't care. I am a Pre-Raphaelite nut and don't apologize for it. She should talk. Right now she in working on an 8-foot tall copy of an Edward Burne-Jones painting.
As for the Easton Press book: It is stunning. Truly rivals the Folio in size, appearance and production values. In fact, I prefer the Easton Press choice of art for the cover as it reproduces the original artwork designed by William Morris himself. The Folio and all other editions curiously use designs created by other people (lovely as they are).
The thing arrived most safely packaged in two heavy corrugated cardboard boxes (one inside the other) and lined with thick styrofoam all around. The creamy Italian leather cover is a marvel of embossing, gold stamping and beveling. The thick hand-made paper is handsomely ribbed and the printing (in red and black just like the original) is superb. The super-heavy solander case is of museum-like quality. Everything about this edition shouts quality and care. At the price it is a steal. By the way, why 425 copies? That's how many William Morris himself printed. Merry Christmas, Topsy and Janey!
I just hold my new camera close and say "Yes, I missed out on that wonderful Kelmscott, but you are a really pretty camera." ... then I shed a tear
Don't worry I too missed out on purpose on Kelmscott because I wanted to buy FS Moby Dick LE
........so if you discovered someone had both the Kelmscott from EP AND FS Moby Dick LE..............
I would really lose the will to live...
please consider my feelings on Christmas Eve...
I know I will regret not buying Kelmscott EP for the rest of my life
Oh........well........ummm, I was actually kinda expecting a more combative response....but...........hmmmm, sorry. I really didn't want you to lose the will to live...... :(
It's not so bad ironjaw, your glass at least is half full where Goran's is flowing over.... Mine has particles of dust it is do dry.
At the pace most of us are going we'll be blowing off dust particles in no time at all!
Funniest thing I've found on LT. You know they actually have a listing for EP's Kelmscott? No picture or anything like that, but the description and publishing date match. I have never ran into an EP book being listed in LT before.
Have no worries, you can buy one of the re listed items either on eBay or Abebooks. I know of two as of Christmas listed for sale on the web. Still a lot cheaper than the original. It will come at a higher price, of course. I am curious who has the very first one # by EP.
Excluding autographed books, is this the most limited EP book ever published?
Technically, no. There have been authors editions unsigned limited to 100 and the astronaut series limited to 25, some signed and others not. There are a number of them floating around.
Beside authors copies, I am unaware of any volumes less than 425 that are unsigned.
One sold on Abebooks for $900, another on eBay for $1k. In a few years this again will likely double, unknown how long until the prices surge over the current bids. Another two are on Amazon for $2,200, no bids yet. Next edition like the Chaucer, I will buy multiple limited publications.
Goran don't worry :) - sometimes even being adults we all get a bit emotional when we have the chance to buy but pass on. I guess it is the love of books.
But hey thank heaven for Abebooks and ebay, right?
You're quite correct. I'm a fairly calm type of guy, but when I find out I've missed out on a limited edition I was hesitating about sometimes I just want to jump up and down and have a tantrum.
I missed out on starting Easton Press when it started producing fantastic signed editions in 1997, there have been dozens of publications which turned out to be a highly prized investment. There will always be another coming up which will be excellent to collect & cherish. It is the thrill of the chase to collect dreams & figure out which is 1st place on the want list and with the most interesting read. Reminds me of the stock market, similar patterns continue to amaze us. Just because it is out of print will not mean the end of searching, weigh the terms and decide if they will be lower or higher with continual interest. My favorites this year includes the Geoffrey Chaucer and Look at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut Signed 1st,
I usually don't buy EP but glad I ordered their Kelmscott Chaucer to go along with my FS and Basilisk Press editions. Had to really beg and grovel with 'Better Half' but it was certainly worthwhile.
I'm quite happy with the product they turned out for the price - but do wish they had put a label on the slipcase. - I must apply a cure to it's incognito appearance.
Here's some news guys.
I emailed EP asking if they'd be releasing any more deluxe editions. They replied that they were going to have more deluxe edition offerings, similar to the Chaucer, but weren't able to tell me which books were in line. Very good news.
56: or... very bad news, depending on one's financial situation!
It will be interesting to see what future LE they plan. I know that the FS publishes limited editions every year. They recently published a limited edition of Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. A beautiful book, it came with an original etching by the artist... but at $795 it was far too steep for me!
I know of the Rubaiyet LE from FS very well. To be honest, i refrained from buying it simply because I didn't know enough about it, but I agree these prices are really steep. On the other hand, they're also editions that will likely last for generations so I'd say its worth it (although our wallets will certainly hate us for it)
Easton Press did publish a single tome titled 'The Library Shakespeare' in 2006, which was priced at $188.00. My impression was that it contained the complete works in a single volume.
I have both the EP Kelmscott Chaucer and the EP 2006 Complete Works of Shaespeare. In my opinion the Shakespeare volume does not hold a candle to the Kelmscott Chaucer. Don't get me wrong, I like my Shakespeare edition, and keep it on a book stand where I thumb through the pages to catch a few quotes, but I wouldn't do that to my Chaucer.
I would love it if EP did a really nice Shaespeare.
I once owned the Shakespeare, it has an interesting appeal but does not hold any impressive nature. Looks like an everyday collectible edition with half return value. The Chaucer is far superior with the leather quality, gilt inlay and exquisite paper appeal & designs. The only way for the Chaucer to become more impressive would be illustrations and leather to be in color with similar interests as the bibles one thousand years ago when there was a lot of time on a bookmakers hands. Kelmscott is a true heirloom from the publisher.
I do have a fantastic Drama Shakespeare edition dating back to the 1880s, it is far beyond any book I have seen & with such detail as the Chaucer. Any requests, photos can be sent. Condition is as new for its age with no cracking whatsoever, a jaw dropper for appeal and quality. Would love to see Easton create one like it, I do believe at some time there will be one available.
As previously mentioned, I think the EP Shakespeare library is great, but it's very large and expensive (since each play is a separate book). However, I would LOVE a First Folio text that is redone with beautiful illustrations... that would be so yummy!
Also, the Folio Society recently released a limited edition Canterbury Tales ($795) that's a facsimile of the Eric Gill edition. Gill was a delinquent, so I tend to avoid his work, even though he is considered a master. At any rate, I personally don't think any Chaucer work is more beautiful than the Kelmscott.
I checked this morning on Thursday and somehow there are a few left of the Chaucer up on their website, expecting to be sold out by this afternoon.
I'm actually a little surprised. Would EP publish that the book was out of stock/sold out when it actually wasn't? I wonder how this came about.
That was my initial thought but then I realized EP only takes one payment between when they ship the book and when its received and they do not take pre-orders. I can't imagine anyone sending the book back after they've received it and only after one payment.
But they take checks and so on, right? So it is possible someone to have ordered and the payment to have failed clearing... :) Don't know... I do not think they just hit a few copies...
It could be multiple reasons, it's not the first time a few came back to the website. All volumes are in their massive climate controlled warehouse stacked to the ceiling in sealed boxes, millions of volumes. My guess is there were a handful of buyers who could not afford the volume and returned. A few may have simply been rearranged. When they re posted the item, 16 were available, now who knows. Likely not more than 5 remaining.
Speaking of their warehouse, am I the only one who's ever been interested in EP's actual operations? Who does their bindings? How are there books selected. Folio Society is definitally more transparent then EP.
Not sure how fast they sell them, there a few left a couple weeks ago. It seems their numbers are not always on the ball for how many remain, or else near the end there are nearly no buyers. Would assume they would be sold out by now considering the rarity history. What is so interesting, have seen at least three online sell for $1k this year.
Hey, EastonQuality -- where on the EP website does it list the number of copies available for a given book? I've never noticed that for any of their holdings.
Any questions you need to contact by phone, there are two different phone numbers for purchases and customer service. Would be nice if they could upgrade on their website, missing a few key details. Their customer service could not be much better, they do a splendid job answering questions. Have the item numbers ready when you call.
Oh -- I've called them many, many times before -- I just thought you were saying there was a way to check availability on the web site. Oh well...we can always hope.
I've actually see the EP edition on sale for over 2k more than once since they first "sold out"
They offer it for 2K but do they actually sell them is a good question. It is way too early for 2k, possibly in the 2016 presidential election more or less. I contacted Easton on a couple titles, they were nearly sold out yet they were available for multiple weeks. It questions on how many are actually available. Their site shows the popularity of each one, however it appears they match up the number of volumes sold per week within seven days, a bit too confusing to know which ones are a sell out immediately.
Just received my copy . The binding and presentation are quite lovely . The text itself and the colors where they do appear appear a little less crisp than the Folio Society Facsimile but the difference is only a little . I will be looking forward with interest to whatever future limited editions they produce in a similar style/fashion.
I've uploaded a new cover photo of the EP Kelmscott to my profile picture gallery -- I'm also using this pic as the book's cover image in my library.
Also, if I'm not mistaken, EP is now completely sold out of the KC.
Just joined Library Thing. I'm a big Gustave Dore fan and I saw the Kelmscott Easton did. Does anyone know if they ever did this kind of treatment on the Dore Divine Comedy?
I believe I have seen a three volume set for Dore Divine Comedy, highly collectible now.
Easton Press offers a one-volume edition (although the web site says that it is currently out of stock). Although this is not a deluxe edition like the Kelmscott, the book's large format is still a perfectly adequate vehicle for Dore's engravings.
I should warn Easton Press purists that this book is only EP on the outside. The leather cover, hubbed spine, smyth-sewn binding, moire endpapers, gilded paper edges, and ribbon marker are all classic Easton Press. On the title page, however, the publisher is listed as Chartwell Books, rather than Easton Press. It's as if EP were hired to bind and produce an edition of another publisher's book. It's still a beautiful volume, even though purists might be put off by the book's hybrid nature.
And, importantly, at a little more than a hundred U.S. dollars, this is a relatively affordable book.
The three volume Divine Comedy mentioned @#82 above is actually illustrated by Barry Moser, not Gustave Dore. However, Gustave Dore has been a popular subject for E/P over the years. As mentioned @#83, they have offered a single volume edition of The Divine Comedy illustrated by Gustave Dore. Currently available is Coleridge's 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' illustrated by Dore. (Forgive me if that link does not display properly. Programming is not my forte.) In addition to these, E/P has also issued the following titles illustrated by Gustave Dore: 'The Holy Bible', 'Perrault's Fairy Tales', Cervante's 'Don Quixote', Milton's 'Paradise Lost', and Tennyson's 'Idylls Of The King'. I wish I owned them all but, contrary to SilentInAWay's sentiment, they are not all that affordable at $120.00 ea., which may lead me to create a new link ... how do Easton Press collector's earn a living?
No, I agree -- $120 is expensive! But it is "relatively" affordable compared to the $600 Kelmscott!!
Has anyone had light spots on the green clamshell/traycase caused by the styrofoam packing material? Can it be fixed?
That's not good - how long has yours been sitting i' the case?
I don't know how long it's been in the case. The light areas are on the case not the book. I bought it on eBay.
As long as its not on the book; that would have been an absolute disaster.
I've got a bit of green on the leather tips of the book from the case. It evidently moved around to much in transit. The green case also has some discoloration on it, mostly from being moved around with something under it, as well as a few splotchy white spots. Since I recieved my copy used, I don't exactly know what it went through before I bought it.
I took a trip to the rare books library at my University, and then took some images of their copy of an original Kelmscott. I thought people might enjoy taking a look:
Thank you Astropi, I really appreciate a look at that book. I've been reading Basbanes first book "A Gentle Madness" once again, and when he interviewed a Kelmscott collector, he mentioned more details about he Chaucer.
"The Kelmscott Chaucer is a masterpiece of typography, ornamentation, and design that William Butler Yeats once declared to be "the most beautiful of all printed books." William Morris produced 425 paper copies of the Chaucer in 1896, 379 of which were issued in quarter-linen binding and blue paper-covered boards, with linen spines and pasted labels. The remaining forty-six, bound in white pigskin, blind-stamped with a design drawn by Morris himself, and bound at the Doves Bindery- are the rarest of all."
So evidently your university has one of the rare ones, very nice.
>91 astropi:: Not all that long ago there was a copy of Easton Press' Moby Dick with a fore edge painting of a whaling scene listed on Ebay. My recollection is that it was listed a few times without any bids, though I believe it did eventually sell; not for all that much too.
Wonderful pics. astropi. These book make my Easton Press books feel like paperbacks. The University I attended also had a rare book room. Regrettably, I never took advantage of it.
And for what its worth, I would take Jay Walker's library in a heart beat. I don't care if I couldn't read that many books. I could still lay them out all over the floor and roll around on them.
92: glad you liked the pics! I didn't know there were only 46 copies bound in white leather. All rare books in the library have notes associated with their history. In this case, I don't actually recall (I didn't read through all the notes) but I believe it was a gift to the University from a professor's widow. I saw two prices listed in all the notes. One was on the original sales receipt (from 1897 and for $2000, purchased in Boston). The other I didn't take a good look at, but it was for $15,000.
93: is rolling on books good for your back? :)
I will pay more visits to the rare books library. So if people have requests, let me know. I can't guarantee that they'll have the book, but they do have an obscene amount of wonderful and amazing volumes!
See if they have all the ones that have been made into DLEs. The 1611 KJB, Indian Tribes, Crusades, Dante. Would be interesting to see how closely reproduced they were by Easton.
Heads-up, for those who want a beautiful (although not as beautiful as the EP DLE) edition of the Kelmscott, the Folio Society has a high-quality facsimile for sale at $300. Normally it's $600, but it's 1/2-off during their Summer sale.
For those of who missed out on the original items when it was on sale, despair no more.. there is one on eBay re-listed again for only #3,250.
I guess it's time to re-mortgage the house.. :-)
Yes, I agree. There is a flood of new DLEs from Easton Press lately, and so probably it must hurt the resale market.
As more new titles and more selection become available , the harder it becomes to sell overpriced older publications.
The one set I am wondering about is History of the Indian Tribes of North America, sold out faster than any other DLE and never listed online at a reasonable offer elsewhere. The Chaucer I was not surprised to sell out quickly, it is such a beautiful book.
For those of you that missed out on this DLE (The Kelmscott Chaucer) before it was sold out, I noticed that lately there seems to be more and more of them re-appearing on Ebay in the reseller market.
The going price seems to be between $1200 - $1500.
It still seems to be pricy (over two times the original price), but overall DLE reseller prices seem to be going down.
Probably because of the large number of new DLEs being released by EP lately.
I guess it is a limited market overall, and the latest Sold prices are a good reflection about what the market thinks in terms of how much these book really worth on the secondary markets.
Although our friend the Engineer has his copy still listed for $3,750.00 ;-)
>102 geiles:: $3,750.00 is nothing compared to what he hopes to get for his Easton Press McKenney & Hall's HISTORY OF INDIAN TRIBES OF NORTH AMERICA ... a whopping $27,500.00, plus shipping, of course. At first I thought it must have been a mistake, but it consistently reappears at the same price. I anticipate we collectors will have to look at it again and again for the next one-hundred and twenty five years, unless someone mistakes it for an original, which perhaps, by pricing it as if it were an original, is what engineer-69 is hoping.
Just snagged the Easton Press Kelmscott Chaucer. A couple of days ago, I found listed on Ebay an Easton Press Kelmscott Chaucer, but without "Easton Press" anywhere in the listing. Needless to say, only two other people bidded on the book, and only half-heartedly.
105> Thank you. And yes, it is my favorite Easton DLE. Chaucer is one of my favorites and the Easton Kelmscott is even nicer than I imagined. The paper is so heavy and the printed page almost feels letterpress, although I know it isn't. It fits in well with my Easton Press Faerie Queene, which is not a DLE, but is beautiful nonetheless and in a similar vein.
I hope I didn't come across like a jerk in my previous post, just wanted to share my experience with people who could appreciate my good fortune. My wife simply thinks I just spent way too much money on yet another book. At least she doesn't object to me buying the books!
106: No worries, I thought your post was nice and genuine. Always good to see someone happy over a high-quality book :)
While there are a surprising number of "jerk" posts on LT, yours was certainly not one of them. While you may stir up a little envy, we are here to celebrate the success of any book lover making a worthy new acquisition!
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