NY: Croscup & Co, 1896. Limited/Numbered. Hardcover. Collectible Fair. Item #SHEL1553
Leather and boards. Now here is a mystery. This is an 8 volume set, 12mo, of the works of Poe, each with a custom bookplate bearing the profile of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The edition, published in 1896 by Croscup & Company, New York, and printed by J. Miller and Sons, Edinburgh, is bound in 3/4 leather and marbled paper over boards. Stiff marbled endpapers. Untrimmed fore edge. t. e. g. (top edge gilt). Set #467 of 1,000. Now the bad news. These bindings were issued glued text block to spine, thus compromising what appears to be otherwise a rather fine binding. The hinges are fragile and a few copies, because of partial separation of a joint, broken hinge, or outright detachment of front cover, were reinforced/reinforced with archival tissue tape. A fair packet of money could be applied in a fine restoration -- or one could purchase the set either as a reading set or for the curiosity of the bookplates. Paginations: 314, 317, 316, 310, 318, 329, 286, 287. General Index at end of last volume. Each volume has an artistic frontispiece with tissue guard. Ok, now about the custom bookplates. We do not assert this set is from Hoover's library, but it must have belonged to someone who thought the world of him. The bookplate profile is almost certainly that of Hoover, but we cannot at this time prove it beyond a doubt. There are almost no profile photos of Hoover to be seen on the internet--after all he WAS in the business of make profile images of other people! However, there is one excellent profile of him being sworn in and appearing to be about the same age as the profile on the bookplate. "Eternal Vigilance" seems absolutely appropriate for Hoover, or perhaps someone who adored him or who worked in the FBI. Although attributed to various sources, including Thomas Jefferson, it's a catch term for a lot of things FBIish or CIAish, but also nefarious. The August 8, 1949 did a cover story on Hoover and the FBI and included this term in a quote, perhaps not quoting Hoover, but the journalist writing about Hoover. The two-faced Janus idea, well you will have to use your own imagination. Poe's works appear in sets by various publishers, but this one is very hard to locate. So, fair warning to the buyer: you may wish to spend a lot of money restoring this set and I think it would be worth it, but the price here is mainly because of the bookplate--all eight volumes have it.
Price: $275.50 save 25% $206.62