In truth I don't know a great deal about them, but judicious use of The British Library Catalogue, Abebooks, Ebay and other sites has given me at least a rough overview. It's a bit complicated. It appears that Collins Illustrated Pocket Classics were first published from about 1905 to 1925. If you find these in your local bookshop you are unlikely to find them with jackets - although I believe they were issued - and they conform pretty much to the standard of pocket-sized books of the day, a direct attempt to complete with the Everyman Books published by J. M. Dent. If you set out to buy one online though, be sure to ask the vendor to confirm it is the 'pocket' version, because there have been, at various points, the same titles published as Collins Illustrated Classics and Collins Classics. In fact Collins appears to have been fairly promiscuous with the classics throughout the first half of the Twentieth Century.
The Red Badge of Courage, however, and as we shall see, some of the titles mentioned by people commenting on my original post, comes from the mid 1950s when it appears the Collins reissued and, I think, in some cases, issued some new 'classics' which they put into dustjackets like the Red Badge but which might have been Yellow or Blue, or other colours perhaps that I haven't yet come across. So, let me see if I can answer any of the questions from the original post.
There's a Dumas novel in this series (at least I think it is #511), THE QUEEN'S NECKLACE, which has an introduction by famed thriller writer Dennis Wheatley (who often acknowledged his debt to the French author). I've never actually seen a copy, but I'd love to get one for my DW collection someday.
Hi, Jim, I'm sorry I didn't get back to you about this at the time. As it happens I think I now have a copy of this and I'll get in touch privately to see if you are still interested. However, it appears to be part of the 1950s reissues: the British Library has it at 1957. It would seem that the Wheatley introduction was new for that edition as there is an earlier (c.1920) Collins Illustrated Pocket Edition which had an introduction by A. T. Baker.
Hi I have found a copy in this series Tom brown's school days with a blue dust jacket, I am trying to date it. Can anyone help. Red boards. Illustrated byFrank Mckenna. collin. States been producing this series for over 30 years . I cant find another online to date or value.Any help would be great
This is slightly trickier, without seeing a picture. I can find 1950s copies but these seem to illustrated by someone called Will Nickless. I can find the older-looking dateless copies illustrated, as you say, by Mckenna but, all the copies of those I can find suggest a kind of faux leather covering. Possibly you have a copy from the original series, c.1910, with an original dustjacket. As to value? I don't know of any pocket edition title really being worth any more than 10GBP, even with a jacket.
I have Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield Illustrated by Bloome...any idea of the age?...it looks 1870ish
This one is a bit easier. I think you may have committed a typo for the artist's name, it was W. H. C. Groome. The British Library Catalogue suggests that this was No. 1 in the series and also part of the Collins Illustrated Dickens. First issued in 1907 and then reissued in 1925. The 1907 edition would appear not to have a printed date of publication and, since you are unsure, I guess that's what you have.
Amy C said...
I have Miscellaneous Essays by Lord MacAuley it's number 119 in the series. When were they published?