Tauchnitz Editions


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Posted by Baronbern on January 4, 2013 at 5:55 AM

As well as the Tauchnitz Periodical Record (see previous blog post), another recent ephemera find is worth noting. A bookmark dated April 1893 is not only slightly older than any of the previously recorded Tauchnitz bookmarks, but also differs from the later bookmarks in a number of small ways. The earliest bookmark recorded by Todd & Bowden is dated July 1894, with the latest in this series dated June 1914, leading them to hypothesise the existence of a series of 240 monthly bookmarks, although they found evidence of just 56 of these. From my own collection I can verify the existence of bookmarks for over 50 more months and I know that other collectors can take the total of confirmed months to over 150. With evidence now though that the series may stretch back to April 1893 or earlier (and extend to January 1915 or later) the likely total number in this series is over 260.


Bookmarks from April 1893 and December 1895 for comparison - front and back


The basic design of the 1893 bookmark is almost identical, but the colour is blue (similar to Todd & Bowden’s ‘second state’ rather than ‘first state’), there is no reference to the price of the books and there is no leaf decoration at the bottom of the rear side. Perhaps most significantly though, it is rather larger than the later bookmarks. At 17 x 6.7 cm, it is slightly longer than the standard Tauchnitz book size and so cannot be kept within a book without projecting slightly. From a utilitarian point of view this may be an advantage for a bookmark, but (as with the Periodical Record) it may have resulted in fewer copies surviving. The best hope for a bookmark to survive for over 100 years is for it to lie completely hidden within the pages of a book.


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