Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

10 April 2012

Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Special Edition

 The title page of the limited edition of 1935

If you owned a copy of the 1926 edition of T.E.Lawrence's 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' you would be sitting on, possibly, $US50 000 worth. Much as I'd love one I can't stump up that kind of cash.

The next edition was in 1935 and a first edition of that is reasonably valuable. Unlike the 1926 one, all of its illustrations are in black and white BUT a special limited edition was also brought out which contained four colour illustrations from the original; beautiful chromo-lithographs of portraits done by Eric Kennington.

 One of the four colour plates by Eric Kennington

This edition was limited to 750 numbered copies of which I have number 125.

It's in beautiful condition, its uncut pages quarter bound within brown buckram boards and its spine of gold-blocked pigskin. The front cover carries the gold-embossed crossed swords device with its cryptic message 'the sword also means clean-ness and death'

 My copy of the limited edition of 1935

The thing is: I have no idea what this book is worth. Because it is limited and because, since 1935, there are unlikely still to be 750 numbered copies, it rarely appears in sales catalogues.

I treasure it and, along with other treasured books in my library, I am comforted in the knowledge that e-books will never entirely supersede paper, ink and boards.


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By Don Donovan