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2015 Spring Newsletter

Spring Newsletter 2015 

Tim & Kate Loe
Landreyne Manor, Coads Green
Launceston, PL15 7LZ
Tel 01566 782528

"Make an Offer Week"
continues giving an opportunity for you to make an offer on any book that may take your fancy. We never consider any offers to be insulting or derisory so please go ahead

An opportunity to win a near fine first edition copy o WILD FLOWERS OF CHALK & LIMESTONE 
No. 16 by J. Lousley

Take a look at this image and let us know from which title it appears 
Closing date 14th June. Winner drawn from all correct answers in a hat 
Loe Books
Specialise in Natural History and collectable books within many subject areas. We also have an interest in artwork both botanical and natural history. More recently we have been concentrating on acquisitions from auction on behalf of clients; offering pre-auction research of condition, collation and provenance. We take responsibility for the consignment until it reaches the customer so reducing risk.

The second state bindings/reprints of NN 96
Fungi and NN97
Mosses are a good 6mm shorter than the first states.  



Dear Collector

The latest newsletter with fresh news and something of interest for the collector, naturalist, and bibliophile. Here we offer you insight into the New Naturalist series, and a competition to amuse those that like a challenge. 

The good news is that, finally, Collecting the New Naturalists is due for publication in August. Tim has written the main bibliography with Tim Bernhard contributing some supporting sections.  Additionally the fascinating personal accounts of thirteen diverse NN collectors are included.  The book details every known New Naturalist edition, reprint and variant, many highlighted for the first time, including a number of important first edition issues.  There is far more besides, and it will be, we hope, indispensable to anyone interested in the series.
If you have something that you think could be of interest to other collectors please send us your articles and we will endeavour to include it in the next newsletter.

Thank you for your continued interest.
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Collecting the New Naturalists - PRE-ORDER NOW
To pre-order direct from the author there are several options.
1. Click the Pay now button and purchase using Paypal


2. Follow the link to download and complete an order form; return by email or post if paying by cheque. 
3. Call us on 01566 782528
List Price:    £60
Our Price:    £48
Postage:      £5
Total:         £53
Tim Loe will be very pleased to sign/inscribe your copy should you wish.
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It is difficult to say at what point New Naturalist prices reached their peak, as each title in the series has a different history, but the crest of the wave was probably around 2007/8.  Since then most titles, but not all, have fallen in value. 

In 2007 some remarkable prices were achieved on Ebay: £820 for NN77 The Soil in April; £2,000 for Hebrides in August; £830 forWild and Garden Plants in September; £1,729 for Ladybirds in October and £930 for Caves and Cave Life also in October. All, admittedly, in fine condition.  At a sale held by Keys Fine Art Auctions, Alysham on  20th June 2008, fine copies of Ladybirds (lot 65) and Larks, Pipits and Wagtails (lot 78) made £1,200 and £1,050 on the hammer respectively, to which 15% commission was added! At this time there was such a contagious euphoria surrounding the series that it was difficult to believe that prices would not continue inexorably on their upward climb. But continue they did not. Ten years earlier in November 1998 the first issue of the New Naturalist Book Club (now the New Naturalists Collectors' Club) newsletter was published, and the founder Bob Burrow had a lot to say about value. On the first page he says of Ireland'...but I [am] still of the considered opinion they will be changing hands at over £200 a copy in five years time.'  In this particularly instance he was wrong, but Bob's predictions were often very accurate.  He also states that 'NN81 Ladybirds and NN82The New Naturalists, published in 1994/5...are now selling at over £200 and £95 respectively'. 10 years later they were selling at five times these figures. Of the NN72-NN83 tranche, he was offering in Nov. 1998, fine copies of:The New Forest for £260; Ferns for £350, Freshwater Fishes for £250; The Soilfor £50, Larks, Pipits and Wagtails for £125; Caves and Cave Life for £75; Wild and Garden Plants for £95; Ladybirds for £250 and The Natural History of Pollination for £40. All have appreciated considerably, but it is interesting how Ferns has recently become so much more common than Fishes. Bob Burrow regularly advised members of the investment potential of new titles, and no doubt many acted on these tips and 'laid-down' new copies. With titles rapidly doubling their jacket price, the temptation to purchase multiple copies, to be sold later at a profit, was one that many dealers and collectors could not resist.  This had the effect of significantly (and artificially) increasing demand, to which Collins responded by printing larger numbers and quickly undertaking reprints - of which a number were undeclared and are now very difficult to distinguish from genuine first editions.

The practice of purchasing multiple copies of the same title inevitably coincided with the peak in NN values, with titles in the range NN96 (2005) - 110 (2009) the most affected. Print runs bear this out: at the start of this run approximately 3,000 copies of each title were printed and at the end approximately 5,000 copies.  Tellingly, print runs for current New Naturalists have fallen back to around the 3,000 mark.

Quite how many books were purchased speculatively during this period is difficult to say, but certainly a large enough number to influence significantly rarity and price.  Very recently i.e. in the last couple of months, several natural history booksellers were offered 500 first edition copies of NN100 Woodlands, still in their original packing boxes. These had been purchased speculatively with a view to a future profit; in the event, I believe, they were sold at a loss. Many of these speculatively purchased books, have now entered the "second-hand" book market swelling supply considerably - and inevitably prices have fallen.  But it won't always be like this; the cheaper copies will sell and once the surfeit has gone (probably to non-collectors) prices will readjust.  For those needing books in this range, it has probably never been a better time to buy.

No.96 Fungi£54No.101 Galloway£38.70No.106 Dragonflies£36
No.97 Mosses£40.50No.102 Garden Natural History£40.50No.107 Grouse£40.50
No.98 Bumblebees£67.50No.103 Scilly Isles£27No.108 Southern England£45
No.99 Gower£40.50No.104 Ornithology£45No.109 Islands£40.50
No.100 Woodlands
patterned endpapers
£56.7No.105 Wye Valley£45No.110 Wildfowl£40.50
Available via our website Click Here
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Traditionally, printing was all about economies of scale and publishers aware of this would regularly print more copies than they intended to bind.  These 'run-on' copies would be bound up later if required, and if not they would be pulped.  Unlike today where books are quickly remaindered if not sold, titles were held in stock for decades and so it was with in the earlier day of the New Naturalist series.  Books subsequently bound-up often exhibit subtle differences leading to binding variants (detailed in Collecting the New Naturalists) with implications for the collector who must have first edition, 'first state' books - if of course a priority can be established.  Some of these differences are very subtle, whereas others are immediately obvious.  In the former category is NN41 Dragonflies; usually 'COLLINS' on the spine of the casing is about 21mm long, but occasionally copies are found where 'COLLINS' is only about 18.5mm long - noticeably different when the two variants are side by side, and clearly a different block must have been used.  In this case no priority can be established and, indeed, it might just be that the original 'COLLINS' block was damaged and replaced during the same binding process.  In other cases differences are greater and can be prioritised, for instance the first edition of NN31Man and the Land has two distinctly different bindings: in the first variant the NN monogram is without a diamond in the middle of the conjoining vertical stroke, whereas in the second a diamond is present in the middle of the vertical stroke.  Even greater differences are displayed with first and second states of NN96 and NN97 where the second states are good 6mm shorter.  Collecting the New Naturalistsprovides tables that will allow the reader to 'key-out' these and other variants - not unlike 'keying-out' a wildflower - perhaps appropriate for a series about natural history.  

Left Hand Casing. First edition, primary binding variant without a diamond in the middle of the conjoining vertical stroke of the NN monogram.

Right Hand Casing. First edition, second binding variant with a diamond in the middle of the conjoining vertical stroke of the NN monogram.



Created: 30-05-2015 15:40:46
Modified: 30-05-2015 15:40:46