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…So Few. A folio dedicated to all who fought and won the Battle of Britain, 10th July - 31st October 1940.

[With:] … So Many. A folio dedicated to all who served with RAF Bomber Command 1939 - 1945.

London: The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, 1990-5 Stock Code: 145852
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A monumental tribute to the RAF pilots of the Second World War, signed by 50 airmen, the set of creative team member John Golley

First editions, deluxe signed issues, both volumes number 96 of 401 copies, each containing 25 superb colour silhouette portraits of distinguished RAF pilots from Britain and the Commonwealth, all signed by both the pilot and artist Michael Pierce, and with his embossed stamp. Additionally signed in the edition by six members of the creative and design team, including former RAF pilot John Golley, the owner of this set. A lavish and worthy tribute to Britain's Second World War airmen.

Printed on thick paper and finely bound, each portrait is accompanied by a biography of the subject, together with photographs of memorabilia and facsimiles of letters. The prospectuses detail the meticulous attention to detail during production: for each volume 500 sets of sheets were printed, with the best 401 hand-chosen and the rest pulped. The editor was noted historian of aviation Bill Gunston, who compiled the biographies in collaboration with John Golley, this set's owner. Prince Edward contributes the prefaces.

So Few and So Many raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, a success which led to trade issues by W. H. Smith. These deluxe issues are uncommon on the market today. The first copy of both volumes was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. The list of contributors names several charitable organisations and other members of the Royal Family for whom copies would likely have been reserved.

This set belonged to John Golley, Typhoon pilot during World War II, and one of the creative team behind the publications. Both books retain the original mailing cases to him, and a folder with material relating to the publications: photocopies of documents relating to the presentation of a copy by John Major to George H. W. Bush, original publicity and newspaper entries, letters presenting the set to his son Ian Golley, a specimen limitation leaf, and his purchase order.

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2 works, folio. Original blue crushed morocco over bevelled boards, raised bands to spines within gilt rules, titles to second compartments gilt, front covers lettered in gilt, that of So Few with inset embroidered RAF brevet and gilt decoration, So Many with inset bronze bas relief pilot bust by James Butler RA, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers, bound blue silk page-makers. Each volume housed in the original moiré silk-lined blue cloth solander box. Original prospectuses included. Housed in the original mailing cases. With folder of additional documents.


With 50 coloured silhouettes on card leaves, tipped in as issued, signed by the subject and artist, artist's embossed stamp, tissue-guards, numerous photographs (colour and black-and-white) and facsimiles to the text.


Soiling to prospectus of So Many. A fine set.


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