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Purnells History of the First World War


Seadog
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Advice please, like many members I have a complete set of Purnells History of the First World War, in 8 blue binders with the usual silver lettering on the covers and in very good condition. My question is because these do not have individual magazine covers but are otherwise complete, were they purchased like this from the printers? I have read that such a set was produced for libraries whether this is true or not I have no idea. Finally what would be a reasonable price to ask for the complete set say if selling to a book dealer?

Regards

Norman

PS If this is in the wrong topic please transfer.

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I have a set of Purnell's History of the Second World War, inherited from my father. He put the first volume into a binder purchased from Purnells, but left the rest loose. He removed the covers from magazines that he put into the bound volume, which was black with gold lettering, but kept the covers separately.

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It was a part-work with covers for which binders where available. At relatively low cost I had my collection bound. The writers were just about all the current luminaries of military history - the Great War - of the time.. Terraine, LHart, and etc. Possibly now some of it is a little dated but it remains a valuable reference work on my shelves and I use it more than any other general history of the conflict.. Pictures maps and illustrations are excellent. It only rarely turns up for sale and there are no copies currently listed on Abe - and that's probably the best place for a 'reference price'

Hiopr this is of some help

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Thanks David I do also have a few individual copies with of course the covers intact. What I cannot understand is why anyone would want to remove the covers (128 !) before inserting the copies into the binders, it may be that the ones that I have were in fact a library copy. Any info would be appreciated and I have trawled the net including ABE but with no success so far.

Regards

Norman

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I don't know if they offered different binders here in Australia - but my copies for WW1, which my father collected individually, (and then inserted in the binders with covers intact) are in a red/brown colour with gold lettering.

The WW2 set are in black binders also with gold lettering (the same as Gibbos)

Are all WW1 Binders in the UK blue?

If so, perhaps the original owner removed the covers either to help with the flow of the content & make them appear more like a book - or maybe to fit more magazines in each binder.......

Sorry if this doesn't help in your quest for an answer :blush:

Cheers, Frev

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Frev, this may be one of life’s imponderable questions like “where do flies go in the wintertime”? Etc. I bet someone on the forum will have the answer (the magazines NOT the flies).

Regards

Norman

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seadog,

I can answer both your questions, as about 2 months ago, I was able to buy a complete bound set of all 128 issues in their 8 Purnell blue binders on Ebay, at a cost of GBP 98, which I thought was really cheap.

The complete set is in immaculate condition, and each of the issues does have a special front cover intact.

For the issue that was to be the first in each Volume, that issue had a black cover with large white type " History of the First World War " Volume 1 ( through 8 )

However, each of the 128 issues did have a dedicated front cover. For example, Volume 2, the covers are :-

The Second Battle of Warsaw

Serbia - The September Campaign

The Battle of Coronel

The Air War

The War at Home

The Winter Carpathian Campaign

The Bombardment of the East Coast

Joffre's Winter Plans

U-Boats : Germany's Stranglehold on Britian

Defence of the Suez Canal

Neuve Chapelle

First Landings at Gallipoli

Campaign of Hate

Canadians at War

The Second Battle of Artois

Italy Enters the War

This being a total of 16 issues, with each having a cover detailing the issue as shown above, within each there were additional sub-sections on the topic.

I shall get around to publishing the index for each of the 8 volumes, that way, members can check what they have, and what is missing from that particular Volume.

I hope this helps. Should you have any questions, please let me know and I can refer to my set.

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I've still got my complete set of this, collected as it was published, and put in the binders. I don't have the covers. I took them off as I bound them because that way the contents of each volume sort of flowed better. I kept the covers seperately but over the years they got dog-eared and torn, and I moved several times, and eventually they went to the dustbin ( this was before recycling). I wished I'd kept them now, but they didn't seem important at the time. The same goes for my complete collection of Purnell's WW2 history! The last time I looked on ABE, a set of the WW1 history was going for over £1000, which stunned me entirely. But, as the say on the Antiques Road Show ' I shan't be selling them'.

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Paul Granger.

Many thanks for the reply, and it seems that a lot of people discarded the covers.

I doubt that matters too much, as the value is in the superb articles, and the huge reservoir of reference material on all aspects of WW1 contained in each of the 128 parts.

I am clearly out of touch on price, and am very pleased to hear of the complete set selling for 1000 pounds, which for some 800/900 separate quality articles, is probably worth every penny.

I have tried to download the contents list for Volumes 7 & 8, but keep being told I have exceeded my download quota ? which seems to have a daily limit.

Like me, I know you must enjoy owning such a great source of information on World War One.

Kind regards,

Leo

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I have found a note I had made of two sets sold on ebay in 2007. One went for £235 and the other £255. Any idea of a starting point price for sale to the trade now?, suggestions welcome. Right now I cannot find any current sets for sale on the entire web and only one site offering individual copies for £10 each, mind you whether they have any takers at this price I am very doubtful.

Regards

Norman

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Always remember that the copies you see for sale are the copies which have not sold - and you may ask yourself why at the price they are advertised at.

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I also own complete bound sets of Purnell's History of the First World War and Second World War which I collected while at school. If I remember correctly, the Second World War preceded the First but I may be wrong there. I also have a little bookcase which my mother bought me to hold the First World War set. It came as an offer from Purnell and the books fit very nicely. I kept the covers separately for many years and eventually gave the lot in a (now regretted) fit of generosity to the son of a friend who was carrying out a history project at school.

Kevin

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If I remember correctly, the Second World War preceded the First but I may be wrong there.

Kevin

I did enjoy that little quote ..

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Kevin,

Not only is the complete WW1 set rare, but the Bookcase must be extremely rare, as I am not sure how many subscribers would have purchased the matching Bookcase. It is just the sort of thing a kind Mum would do. I have never seen nor heard of the Purnell Bookcase, still a great investment by your Mum !

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  • 1 year later...

Won a full set today on e-bay for £76 + £14 postage. Lost out on a set that went last week for £41 + £22 postage. I've got the WW2 set too, bought as it came out week by week in the 1970s.

Bernard

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I paid £5.99 for an almost complete set, unbound,missing just 5 copies about 3 weeks ago on ebay. I asked the seller for a buy it now price, but he was happy to let the auction run. I bid at the last minute,covering his starting bid of £5.99,and no one else did. Cost me £12 for a courier to pick them up.123 copies for £18, a bargain if ever i saw one.

Anthony

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  • 2 weeks later...

I too collected the complete set week by week for over two years, starting when I was a student. I marvel now at my perseverance, but am very glad that I did so as I still find it a most valuable reference work. I never thought of keeping the edition covers when I incorporated them into the blue binders offered with the sets, since, as noted by Paul Granger, this made it flow more easily when seen in its entirety. My set was stored in my mother's attic for many years while I was abroad, and then transferred to a relative's attic when she died. I finally retrieved the set some years ago and it was still in excellent condition - a tribute to the quality of its production. I am amazed at the prices that complete sets have fetched but, in common with others I suspect, would never dream of selling mine.

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I collected the series week by week - I too am amazed at the persistance required. Some years later I had them bound in eight volumes It was expensive and, foolishly, I stripped the covers, but I have never regretted the cost. I did the same with the WW2 series. I have no idea of the values of bound sets, but they remain val\uable reference and are regularly used.

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I bought the Purnell's History of the Twentieth Century at more or less the same time (which means I was short-changed as there was still quite a bit of it to go). I bought the binders and (IIRC) removed the covers before inserting. I suspect, though I'm not sure, that the things are in the loft somewhere, along with several boxes of Cambridge United programmes from the 70's and 80's, which are equally priceless.

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And Purnells history of the English Speaking People was not at all bad ,must admit all 4 series would take up a lot of shelf space !

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in the loft somewhere, along with several boxes of Cambridge United programmes from the 70's and 80's, which are equally priceless.

Steven,

There is actually a website dedicated to Cambridge United programmes, and even those only a year or two old, are listed at 3 pounds!

Regards,

LF

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Jeez.No-one tell Mrs B!

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I have the complete collection (volumes 1 to 8 in binders) of the Purnells History of the Second World War, which I collected week by week as they came out. I don't plan on parting with them as I still enjoy paging through from time to time, however I am curious of the entire sets value. Could anyone give an approximate stab at what their value may be?

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