[ModLib] 80 Faux dating Guide

Darrell Johnson zebradlj at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 8 11:46:19 EDT 2011

Modern Libray-ians,
If you do not collect any of the faux leather ML from 1977-1985 you'll likely want to skip this message.
I just sent an email to the list-serve concerning a 90's hardback dating guide.  I have done some work on a 80's Faux guide as well a few years back.  I was considering trying to improve it the way I have my 90's hardback guide.  But I have reasons to believe that it is either not possible or a near waste of time.  I would like to share my reasons for this thought with anyone who collects them to see whether they agree or not.
Tiltes from this era were either issued with a rather plain typographical jacket or with a jacket with a woodcut illustration on the cover and the same wood cut on the half-title page.  Typographical jackets never (as far I have seen) have lists in them.  Woodcut jackets always do.  The main problem I see is that if a title was issued between 1977 and near the end of 1981 it was issued with a typographical jacket with no list and that never changes!  Unlike the original ML Regulars and Giants where, if the standard binding changed, every title that had a new printing got the the new standard binding, for the 80's Faux's, a title that started with the binding that goes wth the typographical jackets was printed in that binding and with the typographical jacket (with no list) all the way through to 1985 when ML ceased (until 1992).  The reason is, I suspect, that to conform to the newer binding style it wasn't enough to change the outer binding and the
 paste-downs, the jacket needed a woodcut illustration and the half-title page needed it also.  And, then, I suspect ML wasn't interested in having woodcuts designed for all the titles arleady in print.  [Or, perhaps Stephen Alcorn was already swamped with designing the woodcuts for the new titles].
Unless these earlier titles had instances where their jackets started getting lists (either by switching to woodcut jackets, or by simply having the lists printed in the typographical jackets) which I have never seen (by either means), there is no way to date any printing of the earlier issues titles.
And, as far as I can tell (but this is much harder to be sure of) any woodcut jacket era title had only one list during its life-span.  If this is false and some woodcut titles have different lists in them, then it would be possibly to roughly date a few woodcut printings of those titles. I only own one copy per title (of the ones I do own) and the few exceptions to that do not have differing lists.
My conlcusion, then, is that a dating guide is either impossible, or limited to very few woodcut era titles over at most a 2 to 3 year span, which would be nearly useless.
Any thoughts from other 80's Faux collectors (or our resident (on-line) ML publication expert).
If you read this.  Every publication date I mined from the internet for an 80's fuax indicated that publication was on the 12th of the month!  Is this actual, or is it being "fudged" because there is only a month and year record for the publication?]
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