Maltese Falcon printings

Fri Mar 19 16:55:32 EST 2004

Information about the number of printings of ML titles can 
be elusive.  For the most part these records aren't in the 
Random House archives at Columbia University.  In the case 
of THE MALTESE FALCON, however, we're in luck.  Pocket Book 
paperbacks in the 1940s often indicate the number of 
printings of earlier imprints on the verso of the title 
page.  The Pocket Books edition of MALTESE FALCON was 
publised in August 1944.  The November 1944 second printing 
(and I expect the first printing as well) list 6 Knopf 
printings between February and November 1930 and 15 ML 
printings between February 1934 and August 1943.  I'm not 
sure whether the 6th ML printing (January 1940) is in the 
original balloon cloth format or the new Blumenthal format--
I've never seen a copy of this printing.  If anyone has this 
I'd like to know!  There were 5 printings between Feb. 1934 
and Feb. 1939, and 9 printings between April 1941 and August 
1943--a total of 15 ML printings prior to publication of the 
Pocket Books edition.  The earliest printing I've seen in 
the later format (with the McKnight Kauffer jacket) is 
spring 1941.

The ML edition appears to have had trouble competing with 
the Pocket Books paperback and was discontinued in fall 
1949, leaving 6200 unsold copies in the warehouse.  Most of 
these were remaindered in 1952.  I don't know how many 
printings there were between 1943 and 1949.  Layman's 
descriptive bibliography of Dashiell Hammett doesn't 
indicate the number of printings of the ML edition.

Barry Neavill

---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 19:40:41 -0000
>From: "Mark Sutcliffe" <msfe at>  
>Subject: Maltese Falcon printings  
>To: <modlib at>
>   Thanks to all who have previously helped with my
>   queries about the jacket and values of the first
>   Modern Library Maltese Falcon.  All have been most
>   helpful to me.
>   I see on the site that there are two Modern Library
>   editions: the 1934 first edition, with the green
>   jacket showing the five head-and-shoulder
>   characters, and the 1942 edition with the black
>   jacket showing the hand, pistol and falcon.
>   Does anyone how many printings there were of each?
>   Thanks for any help.
>   Mark Sutcliffe
>   England
Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
Library and Information Science Program
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
aa3401 at 

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