Smoky. Will James.


New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926. First Edition. Hardcover. 1st edition of his first novel (later re–titled Smoky the Cow Horse). The real 1st printing with “1926” on the title page and only 3 lines on the copyright page. Signed and dated (in ink) on the endpaper, “Will James III–’26.” Small, neat, original owner’s name on pastedown, else fine (brilliant) in a near fine, untouched 1st printing dustjacket ($2.50 price, and with no later printings signified on the spine). The most notable flaw is a 1/2” tear to the top edge of the front panel (tears are to chips as mist is to rain). Complete with the original laid in pictorial bookmark, as issued. Soiled and/or worn copies sell for half our price (repaired ones should be even cheaper), but this is the finest one I’ve had, and it’s much finer than the others that are out there, even the ones described candidly, and most are not. A plotline tracking Black Beauty but set in the American West in the early days of the 20th century, and injected with enough modern realism, to craft a cowboy landmark from the day it was published. It won the 1927 Newbery medal, and is a scarce 1st edition when it’s in an unadulterated dustjacket in this condition. Numerous reprints of the jacket have been married to 1st editions of the book, so beware if the cloth is worn, or faded, or soiled, or looks like it hasn’t been covered with a dustjacket all its life. And any Smoky jacket that’s repaired, should immediately awaken your skepticisms, especially if it’s backed, or the repairs touch the spine, as that’s where the reprintings are noted, and fine sandpaper can remove them, or pulp can patch them, and the repairs can then obscure the evidence that anything was printed there before it was repaired, leaving you with a book that is like a blacksmith’s bellows, it breathes but it does not live. Near fine / near fine. Item #58

Price: $6,500.00

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