A Resource for Stewart Collectors

Over the years, many of those who become followers of George R. Stewart collect his books for their personal libraries. Since “fine” First Editions are rare and increasingly expensive many choose to buy the books without dust jackets. Dust jackets are highly desired by book collectors and are therefore copies with dust jackets expensive. But with a little searching a good “reading copy” without a dust jacket can usually be found at a budget-friendly price, thus allowing the Stewart fan to have personal copies to read or share with friends. Eventually collectors may want to “dress up” their reading copies with a custom or standard book storage box or a dust cover. Custom boxes can be ordered from several places (as this google search shows).

 It’s almost impossible to find good used dust jackets.  They’re rare because as the paper cover of the work they are exposed to rough handling over many years, and when one is found high-end collectors will pay high prices for them.  Sometimes a budget collector – like me and most of my GRS friends – will be lucky enough to find a copy with a cover at a reasonable price and so add that to their collection.  But good luck finding one for Earth Abides, Names on the Land, Sheep Rock, or Storm.  Especially Earth Abides, since Stewart’s great novel in fine condition with a fine dust jacket is now a four-figure purchase.

But there are some ways to add dust jacket art to a GRS collection, or to almost any book. 

The first is do something ‘homemade”.  Find an illustration of the book cover you want online; copy that; and print it into a “dust jacket” format.  There are problems with this approach – mainly the fact that online images are usually very small and thus don’t print well to dust jacket dimensions.  If you have a friend with a good dust jacket, you can ask to scan that, to a higher resolution and get a better result. 

There are a couple of cautions.  

Most dust jackets, like the books they cover, are under copyright.  So while publishers who can no longer offer a dust jacket for sale and are thus OK with your printing one for your copy of a GRS book, don’t print in quantity.

Also, make sure that you clearly mark your printed copy of a dust jacket as a reproduction.

Whatever you do, never try to sell the reproduction cover as an original.  That’s forgery. 

The other way to get a reproduction dust jacket is to by from a legitimate publisher.  One I’ve worked with and have great respect for is Mark Terry of San Francisco. He and his family have been restoring and reproducing dust jackets nearly 25 years.  The income supports his goal to preserve as many of these works of art as he can, and to do so in part by selling the reproduction covers to collectors all over the world.  He has nearly 15,000 dust jackets on his site, available for order.  Considering the amount of work each cover requires, his prices are very reasonable. 

Mark receives high (if I may) marks from at least one other site

There are other dust jacket reproducers listed on Google.  But if I were you, I’d start with Mark.  (Note – I do NOT receive any commission or other emolument  for this recommendation.)

However you decide to do it, I recommend dressing up those first editions by adding the unique works of art that we call “dust jackets.”  In Stewart’s case, several were done by excellent artists; and usually each book had a different artist and therefore a unique style.  For example:

Ordeal By HungerStorm covernotl

 

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5 thoughts on “A Resource for Stewart Collectors

  1. I have Six hardbound books by GSR, five are first editions, four have original dust jackets, one is signed. (I do not have Earth Abides in a hardbound edition.) My copy of California Trail may be extremely rare because the hard cover was put on upside down. Probably not many of those out there. Does anyone know about these freaks?

  2. Joe, I’ve never seen or heard of an upside down hard cover – that is surely as rare as they get. But you never know – every now and then another such rarity turns up.

    One more-or-less common rarity is on page 27 of the First Edition of STORM. Stewart had written -5 upside down on purpose; but the typesetter thought it was a mistake and “corrected it.” Stewart caught it fairly quickly, but I’ve seen a few copies with the error. Even more rare is one in a central California library which has NO -5, right side up or upside down. That must be the only copy out there. I assume somehow when they stopped printing to change the error a copy between right and wrong slipped past.

    I only recently discovered the WW II infantry version of STORM – with an enticingly sexy cover that had nothing to do with the novel but which surely had every serviceman racing through the novel to find that sexy scene. Good marketing. Probably why we name storms today.

    • Hi Don, You inspired me to order first edition copies of Earth Abides and Fire, to round out my modest collection. They were cheap because the dust covers were raggedy. They will fit in nicely with my other raggedy dust covers.

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