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    Edward E. Smith: Signed Limited First Edition of First Lensman and Original Suppressed Cover Art. (Reading: Fantasy Press, 1950), first edition, 306 pages, signed special limitation page bound in front with cut of nebula but no number, light blue cloth with gilt titles, 12mo (5.5" x 7.75"), light foxing to inside of covers, light fading to head and tail of spine, else fine with THREE variant jackets. All three jackets were designed by A.J. Donnell. Two of the jackets are the variety with the space ship on the cover, with the back panel of one (good condition with small portions missing at the edges) listing four titles by Smith and the other (fine condition) listing five titles as consistent with Currey's A and B priority. The third jacket, in fine condition, differs completely from the other two in design and color. This jacket was the first one produced for the book but was rejected by the publisher. Only a handful (four or five) were ever produced.

    Speaking of the rejected dust jacket design, this book is accompanied by the original rejected cover art by A.J. Donnell. Painted on thick cardboard stock, the piece measures 13.75" x 14.75". The art is also accompanied by a letter of provenance from Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, publisher of First Lensman. This TLS, dated July 23, 1992 and signed "Lloyd Arthur Eshbach" at the bottom, seems to tell the whole story as to why this particular art was not used in the actual release of the novel. Eshbach writes: "This original cover art for First Lensman by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D. was drawn by A.J. Donnell in 1949 for the book which was published in January, 1950 by Fantasy Press. When the first 1000 copies, encased in the bright yellow jackets, were delivered by the bindery, I was most unhappy with its appearance. The yellow background was my fault, but I decided against using the cover. I had the printer produce another jacket in a hurry, using an enlargement of an initial illustration by Donnell appearing in an earlier Smith book. Almost all of the original jackets were destroyed." According to Eshbach, only a handful of these original jackets survived. They are often referred to as the "suppressed" First Lensman jacket, and are very rare. Rarer still is this piece, the original art to the unused dust jacket. The piece is in very good condition, with minor corner wear, and a couple of the corners bumped. Age-toning can be seen around the edges. A very small black smudge line is present at the lower left of the piece as well. The letter of provenance, a collectible in its own right, has two large tears on the left side, and some age toning. This is a wonderful, one-of-a-kind offering: the first edition of First Lensman, the original art for the unused dust jacket, and a letter signed by the publisher explaining why the original cover was unused. From the Ventura Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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