Complete Set of six Andy Warhol-illustrated Best in Children’s Books in Wrappers

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Warhol, Andy. Complete Set of six Warhol-illustrated Best in Children’s Books in Wrappers. Garden City, NY: Nelson Doubleday, 1957-60.

Binding: Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good Condition. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Size: 8"-9" - Octavo (8vo). 6-volume set (complete). Item Type: Book.

This is a complete set of the six issues of the Best in Children's Books series that contained illustrations by Andy Warhol. All of them are hardback, quarter-bound with textured and embossed paper on the spine featuring illustrations from some of the stories and the same on the front and rear cover in a different color. The books are generally in Very Good to Very Good+ condition. The dust jackets are in Very Good to Very Good- condition. All six dust jackets are now protected in clear archival Brodart sleeves.

All first printings are identified based upon the four criteria provided by the article “Best in Children’s Rare Books” from the Rare Book Digest site (posted April 10, 2011): (1) No Volume number with an “A” suffix; (2) No code on either page 111 or 151; (3) Missing “Printed in the United States of America” on the front or rear end paper and (4) No four number code in the bottom center of the rear end flap.

Here is the breakdown of conditions and other details by issue:

#5 (1957) – “Funny Words and Riddles” (pp. 97-104) – First printing. Warhol’s first appearance in the series with eight pages of line drawings in black and red illustrating the riddles by Alice Salaff.

Condition: Minimal shelf wear to the head and foot of the spine; corners sharp. The front end paper is split at the hinge, exposing the webbing.

Wrapper: There is wear along the top and bottom edges of the dust jacket, including 1/8” and 3/8” tears at the head of the front panel and a 3/4" tear at the bottom of the fold between the front panel and spine. Some wear at head and foot of the spine of the wrapper, as well, and darkening at the head and foot of the flaps. There is a scratch on the spine resulting in surface loss to Babar’s trunk and extending into the blue background of the front panel.

#7 (1958) – “The Homemade Orchestra” (pp. 109-116) – Later printing (code 23 L in the gutter of p. 151). Warhol makes it to the cover vignettes. His illustration of musical glasses from p. 114 shows up at the bottom of the front cover. Once again, eight pages of line drawings in black and red.

Condition: No shelf wear to head and foot of spine; corners sharp; end papers complete.

Wrapper: The later printing dust jacket (code 4590 at the bottom center of the rear end flap) shows a little wear at the foot of the folds and spine. There is a 1/4" closed tear at the top edge of the rear panel. The top corner of the front flap has been folded but has no loss. There is some darkening showing in the white areas at the folds and the darkening strip at the head and foot of the flaps.

#15 (1958) – “The Little Red Hen” (pp. 77-84) – Later printing (code 08 G in the gutter of p. 151).  Warhol’s work is featured more in this traditional story with whimsical illustrations in bright colors. The hen at the oven on p. 82 shows up on the rear cover and a bag of flour (similar to that on p. 81) is on the spine. The illustration of the house on p. 77 takes up about a quarter of the rear panel of the dust jacket and the blue mouse is lifted from p. 83 to show up on the wrapper’s spine.

Condition: Minimal shelf wear to the head and foot of the spine; corners sharp. The front and rear hinges are starting but remain tight.

Wrapper: First printing for the dust jacket (no code). There is some wear at the head and foot of the spine, along with a small chip at the head of the rear fold. There are a couple of spots of surface loss to the picture of the weasel at the bottom left of the rear panel. There is some darkening showing in the white areas at the front fold and the darkening strip at the head of the flaps.

#21 (1959) – “The Magic Porridge Pot” (pp. 77-84) – First printing. Warhol returns with another set of color illustrations for a traditional story. The palette is the same as for “The Little Red Hen. The “tiny old woman” with her pot on p. 79 is on the front cover and the pot shows up on the spine. The little girl’s face and hat are on the spine of the wrapper and the picture of the girl beginning to cook the porridge from p. 80 is featured on the rear panel.

Condition: Minimal shelf wear to the head and foot of the spine; corners sharp. There is a slight bump to the bottom edge of the front cover. The hinges are intact and tight.

Wrapper: There is a 1” closed tear at the head of the front panel, running through the “B” of “Best.” There is a 1/2" tear along the front fold at the head of the spine and a 1/4" tear at the foot of the rear fold. The white areas of the folds are darkening and there is the darkening strip at the head and foot of the flaps.

#27 (1959) – “Card Games Are Fun” (pp. 96-116) – Later printing (code 51G in the gutter of p. 151).  In this issue the illustrations return to line drawings in black and red. At 20 pages, this is the longest of the six. A girl from p. 97 shows up on the front cover and three cards appear on the spine in an image that is not among the illustrations in the text.

Condition: Minimal wear at the foot of the spine; corners are sharp. The hinges are starting, but the paper is unsplit.

Wrapper: First printing for the dust jacket (no code). There is a dime-size browned spot on the inside of the wrapper. It shows through on the leaves of the palm tree but matches Crusoe’s outfit so doesn’t stand out. There are some bits of shallow loss at the head of the front panel and of the rear flap. There is a 1/4" tear at the head of the front fold and another at the foot of the spine. There is wear at the head of the spine and a 1/8” chip. There is a 3/8” tear at the head of the rear panel, a small chip at the foot of the rear panel and another at the head of the rear fold.

#33 (1960) – “Sophocles the Hyena” (pp. 85-104) – Birgitta Heid in her essay in the book Reading Andy Warhol says of his work for this series, “Warhol’s figures are not as sweet as those of other illustrators” (p. 180). That certainly applies to his last appearance in this issue. The animals are similar to those from “The Little Red Hen,” but a bit stranger. His style has changed from the earlier line drawings (this time in black and teal), with thinner lines and more details. There is also a two-page spread on pp. 102-3 that is unusual for the series in that there is no text on the pages. Morris the cat from p. 85 shows up on the front cover and his head and soldier’s hat from p. 99 are on the spine.

Condition: Minimal wear at the head and foot of the spine; corners are sharp, though a couple have taken a bump. Front end paper is split at the hinge; rear endpaper is complete and the hinge is tight.

Wrapper: There is a 1/4" by 1/4" chip at the head of the spine on the rear fold and a small, closed tear at the top edge of the rear panel. The jacket has some dark spotting at the lower left corner, a dark spot at the middle of the front fold and a squarish 5/8” darkened area on the rear panel (perhaps where there was a price sticker in the past). There is also some dark areas from rubbing in the white areas of the front and rear panel and the rear flap’s fold is darkened from exposure.

Shipped Weight: 3 lbs 14 oz.

Inventory No: 1273.