Bradbury 451 asbestos issue #4 of 200 signed + dj
Ray BRADBURY (1920-2012). Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, Inc., 1953. Octavo (7 ¾ x 5 1/8inches; 197 x 130mm). Pp. [i-ii; i-vi]; 1-199[; i-iii]. Limitation leaf tipped-in (as issued), 3 full-page illustrations by Joe Mugnaini. (Light spotting to limitation leaf, light smudge to p.179 [a printing error]). Original white Johns-Manville Quinterra cloth, red lettering to upper cover and spine (some spotting to the covers and the endpapers [see images]), clipped dust-jacket as issued to original purchaser incorporating an illustration by Mugnaini (jacket spotted, small tears and chips, three neat tape repairs [see images]). Provenance: one owner (purchased new in 1953).
One of the most sort-after of all Science Fiction classics: an excellent copy of the first edition of Ray Bradbury’s masterpiece, limited issue, stated to be number 4 of 200 copies signed by Ray Bradbury and “specially bound in Johns-Manville Quinterra an asbestos material with exceptional resistance to pyrolysis” – the delicious irony of an un-burnable issue of a book about book-burning appealed to the author (who may have come up with the idea, and then confirmed the un-burnability by experimenting on his own copy).
Although this issue was not published with a dust-jacket, a number of them are known to have been supplied with a dust-jacket at the time of their sale by at least one enterprising bookseller. The present example is one of these: bought new in 1953 by the present owner, it arrived by post with the dust-jacket which is still present today.
This issue remains something of an enigma: the exact circumstances surrounding its conception, issue and marketing are surprisingly difficult to establish: 1. confirmation is needed of the who came up with the idea; 2. the exact number of copies is more than 200: the count currently stands at around 215; 3. It does not appear to have been noted that the limitation leaf is tipped in (and printed on a lighter paper-stock than the rest of the book-block); 4. the existence of this issue was not widely advertised – how was it marketed (if at all?). Currey p.44; Barron 4-99.