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The Football League. The Competitions of the Season 1931[–1939].

Published: London: [for the author,] 1932-40

Stock code: 97273

Price: £12,500

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First editions, extremely uncommon. Only 25 sets can possibly exist, and we can trace no set, not even single individual annual copies, institutionally. “For eight seasons during the thirties Billy Johnston, editor of the Arsenal FC programme for many years, kept his own hand-written records on a season-by-season basis. He then privately published them in eight volumes, each limited to forty copies – results, scorers, transfers and much else of interest is presented in these unique and extremely scarce records, later published in facsimile by the Association of Football Statisticians” (Seddon). The limitation was in fact variable through the publication’s brief history. No limitation is stated for the first year; 1932-3 has a label mounted on the front pastedown to the effect that “The Edition is limited to Twenty-Five Presentation Copies”, and 1933-4 has a similar label to the front free stating that “This Book is confined to 35 Presentation Copies”; 1934-5, 1935-6, and 1936-7 have stated limitations of “40 Presentation Copies”, which in 1937-8 and 1938-9 becomes “50 Presentation Copies”. Evidently the outbreak of the Second World War ended production for the duration, and it was never resumed. An excellent set of this highly desirable “black tulip” of football collecting, one of only 25 such sets possible.

8 volumes, octavo. Original red cloth, title gilt to the spines of all but the first year, and the upper boards of all, blind panel to the front board of the last five volumes. Somewhat sunned, rubbed, soiled, spines starting to split and chip head and tail, all hinges sound, endpapers browning and contents lightly toned, but remains a very well-preserved set.

Bibliography: Seddon J333

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