Penguin classics collection

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Penguin classics collection

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1RD_DR
Mar 13, 2016, 12:33am

Hello,
just joined the group
I would like to know if it is possible to collect all the penguin classics published till date without any double copies of same format?
Also if it is then how should i start collecting and where should i look to get good deals and what things i should watch out for
please share your views and tell me what you think

2abbottthomas
Edited: Mar 13, 2016, 10:17am

>1 RD_DR: Hi, welcome to LibraryThing. First question is what you mean by 'penguin classics'. To old blokes like me the first things that come to mind are the series, mostly edited by E. V. Rieu, issued between 1946 and 1962. These, sometimes referred to by collectors as 'The Medallion Series', had white typographical covers with a coloured border dependent on the language of the original work (Greek - brown, Italian - blue, etc.) and illustrated with a central roundel about 3cm. diameter in wood-cut style. There were 122 works in this format before the introduction of the 'Old Black' style in 1963. These had a large illustration on a black background and, with some design changes, continued to be issued for 40 years.

There have been many other Penguin series including the term 'Classics' since, notably the Modern Classics with light grey covers bearing, at first, a black and white drawing later changing to a photographic style. My interest is in the older books but you will still find newly published Penguin Classics in bookshops.

Collecting the full Medallion series would not be an impossible task. There were 122 works and generally they seem to have survived quite well. They were well produced and were probably treated with more respect than more ephemeral paperbacks. The newer black covered editions are much more numerous, c. 750 between 1963 and 2003, and the other variations will take you into thousands. I see from your profile that you are based in India - I have no idea how easy it might be to find the older books there. I know that in the UK it gets increasingly difficult to find the second hand bookstores with trays of cheap paperbacks that were commonplace when I started collecting. The internet has, of course, widened the book-collector's horizons dramatically.

You can get more information about the various series from http://www.penguinclassics.com and if you are seriously interested I'd recommend the Penguin Collectors' Society http://www.penguincollectorssociety.org . They produce very good publications which are included in the reasonable membership fee and you can buy some of the back issues from them. They published an excellent monograph on Penguin Classics in 2008.

There is a publisher's series on LibraryThing which will give you a long list but it is, I'm afraid, a bit of a rag-bag.

Good luck with your endeavours!

ETA In the 1990s some Penguin Classics were published in India with a green, rather than black cover.

3RD_DR
Mar 15, 2016, 11:23am

I saw an ad on amazon here is the link:- http://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Classics-Library-Complete-Collection/dp/0147503078...
do you think the product is hugely overpriced or is it a good offer?
also now a days i have seen penguin releasing sets like these in the following link:-
http://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Classics-Set-Decorative-Books/dp/B0081UJ4PS/ref=pd...
i want to know that do these sets contain the same works as the original penguin classics or modern classics etc. ?
also is it better to collect these or both
please share your views
thanks

4abbottthomas
Mar 15, 2016, 8:43pm

>3 RD_DR: With that monster package you are paying about $14 a book. That looks like a small discount on the standard new Amazon price but you can certainly get second-hand Penguin Classics from abebooks.co.uk for £2-3. I suppose the first question to ask yourself is "Do I want to read all those books?" Second question is "Have I got room for them?" I reckon about 60cm of shelf for 50 paperbacks so you will need 12 metres of shelving for 1000+ books.

What would turn me off buying something like that - apart from not having a spare $14000 - is that it takes all the fun out of hunting for books you want.

To sort out which books are called 'Penguin classics' you can find a list of 2600 on the Penguin Classics website I mentioned above. I am working on a publishers' series on Library Thing covering the first 122 so-called Medallion Series. Until around 1970 the subsequent Black Cover classics went up to L250. After that Penguin gave up their in-house numbering and relied on ISBNs. Certainly the older series don't include the relatively modern fiction that features in the on-line list.

The other point about the full classic collection is that I would not like to part with my money without having actually laid hands on the books. I have seen promotional copies which were considerably poorer quality that the originals.

5RD_DR
Mar 15, 2016, 11:47pm

what do you think about the penguin drop caps series?

6binders
Mar 15, 2016, 11:56pm

What is and isn't a Penguin Classic seems to have changed over time - autobiography by Morrissey now stands alongside The Odyssey and The Decameron /snob.
Perhaps something to bear in mind when deciding which range to collect.

7abbottthomas
Mar 16, 2016, 8:34am

>5 RD_DR: I haven't seen the Drop Caps series in the shops yet but they look attractive on-line. Rather reflecting what >6 binders: and I wrote before, the choice of works is odd. John Steinbeck and Ellery Queen* as "Classics"? Not how I would have categorised them.

*OK, they had to find a 'Q' from somewhere!