One of my childhood collections that I have kept is Biggles. Some collections have been, shall we say, weeded. I no longer have my collections of
- Alfred Hitchcock & the Three Investigators
- The Hardy Boys
- Nancy Drew
…but Biggles I have kept. I have various editions including paperback, hardcover, first Australian editions, first editions, and so on, of varying quality.
We bought a house at the end of 2021 and in August 2022, I had carpenters onsite building builtin bookcases…a life goal of sorts. Must blog on that one of these days. Anyways all my books, mostly, are in one room and on full display; this means I can start to think about gaps and missing bits. I’ve done that a little already and picked up replacement copies for lesser editions.
So Biggles. I finally did a proper assessment and review last week…though still to write the relevant briefing paper. Oh wait, this is personal not professional. Some years ago, I picked up a printed bibliography (3rd edition), compiled by Ross Burnet for Australian Book Collector. Using that as a guide, I ordered my books, identified duplicates, and importantly worked out which titles I was missing.
The bibliography listed 98 titles of which I had 75…not a bad effort I must say…though there were 9 duplicates. Somewhat nerdishly, I have created a spreadsheet of the 23 titles I am missing. That has been loaded to my phone so I can check when happening across titles in the wild.
Speaking of, I recently popped into a local second-hand dealer and took photos of their visible stock. Comparing those photos to my list of wants, I can see that there are two I don’t have. I hadn’t loaded the titles on to my phone at that point alas but I shall return later in the week and pick up those two.
A challenge of collecting is the thrill of the chase vs the acquirement of key titles. Now that I know what I am missing, I daresay I could plug the titles into a search on abebooks or such. In fact, I used that approach to complete my collection of Penguin wine guides. At the same time, it’s nice to have a list handy whenever I pop into a bookshop here and there..a reason to explore…
Nice collection. I’m currently writing a book on Biggles and his adventures in books, radio, film and TV. Thoroughly enjoying all the research I have to do!
Biggles was the reading of my youth. I do not think I have read anything of W.E. Johns since I went to secondary school fifty-plus years ago. Some of them I read as books and other stories I read serialised in Boys Own Paper which my father had somehow subscribed to from the 1940s until it ceased publishing. I loved the stories and the characters.