Facsimile Dust Jackets for Vintage Books

November 17, 2020 Miscellany 1

Facsimile dust jacket for Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome. J. B. Lippincott Company (USA) (1931) first printing, US edition.

Did you know you can buy facsimile dust jackets for some vintage or antique books? The website Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC offers dust jackets for a number of vintage books, first editions, and later reprintings. The proprietor, Mark Terry, and his sister Gail have scanned tens of thousands of dust jackets for the Dust Jacket Archive. They print and sell a number of the higher-quality dust jackets to fund the archive—not just to collectors, but for theatrical publications, photo shoots… anywhere you might need to establish a time setting or evoke a vintage atmosphere.

While Facsimile Dust Jackets doesn’t carry every title (by a long chalk!), their holdings include scanned dust jackets for some of the original Oz books (as well as later reprintings), early editions of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries, and the original Nancy Drew novels—and that’s just for starters. A search function lets you look for the titles or authors you’re interested in. (Note: I actually have a copy of Swallows and Amazons with the dust jacket pictured above. Mine isn’t in as good shape, but it is original.)

Facsimile dust jacket for The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. Grosset & Dunlap, first edition, first printing, 1930.

The facsimile jackets are printed on archival paper using archival, 70-year inks. Plus, they come in a Mylar jacket, so they will protect your older, collectible editions that no longer have the dust jacket. The “Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC” logo appears on each one, to discourage fraudulent use.

The site offers over 14,550 dust jackets, and can resize one to fit your book, if you want to put a vintage cover on a more modern edition. At $22 per dust jacket, they aren’t exactly cheap, but the quality of the materials and the scans appears high. And you definitely want archival-quality materials if you are putting these DJs on collectible books. I wouldn’t buy a bunch of them on a whim, but a special cover meant to protect a precious book handed down from my mother, or some other treasured book? Absolutely.

Facsimile DJ for The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, published by Frederick A. Stokes Company (USA). This is for the 1928 reprint.

Below is the one I am considering buying first. It’s the dust jacket from the 1939 movie tie-in edition of The Wizard of Oz, published by Bobbs-Merrill. My mother’s copy was given to her in 1946, and she passed it along to me around 1970 or so. The dust jacket was gone long before I inherited the book, but the endpapers show stills from the movie, so I am pretty sure this is the right cover. The book’s actual cover (beneath the jacket) uses one of the original Denslow illustrations, and those illustrations appear throughout the book. I have to admit that I would prefer an earlier edition’s DJ, one that shows a Denslow illustration, but I’m also kind of a stickler for accuracy, so I’ll go with the movie tie-in DJ.

Facsimile dust jacket for The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. The Bobbs-Merrill Company (USA) (1900), 1939 Metro Goldwyn Mayer reprint photoplay production edition
Vintage book photo: The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (1939 edition, no dust jacket)
The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (1939 reprint edition, sans dust jacket)
The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (1939 edition) - endpapers showing stills from the movie
The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (1939 edition) – endpapers showing stills from the movie

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