1964 -> 1966? – The Hobbit – Hardcover – 2nd Edition (2nd State), 15th, 16th, 17th Impressions – Houghton Mifflin




Images from Ebay Sale (See Below)


Why this is designated as a Second Edition:

Tolkien revised the text of the Hobbit to match the events in the Lord of the Rings.  This newly revised text was printed starting with the 5th Impression.

Why this is considered the second state of the second edition:


Starting with the 15th Impression they enlarged the book and printed their own sheets.

From Wikipedia:

Houghton Mifflin enlarged the book to 14.0 x 21.0 cm commencing with the 15th printing, probably in 1964. At that point they abandoned importing sheets from George Allen and Unwin LTD. Parallel to the single British 15th printing, Houghton Mifflin reprinted The Hobbit nine times from their own plates until the advent of the third edition.

While the Allen and Unwin sheets appear to have been printed from Linotype plates, clues suggest that Houghton Mifflin opted to filmset the later printings of the second edition. They did not phototypeset new plates; rather they seem to have photographed the 14th impression. While the sheets are larger, the type block itself is identical. All the print surface flaws that the Allen and Unwin plates had accumulated up to that point were faithfully reproduced in film for the remaining printings. Because any number of copies of the film can be made and stored for future use, the type does not degrade from printing to printing the way it would with Linotype. If the film tears or loses its crispness, it may simply be replaced with a duplicate. Hence, comparisons of type degradation to sort out the 15th, 16th, and 17th impressions would seem fruitless. Indeed the 23rd impression’s type block seems just as effectively identical.

By settling on a single binding color and dropping all color from the interior, Houghton Mifflin cheapened the book and killed the charm of the second edition. These later printings are not considered to be as ‘collectible’ as the earlier printings.

Misc Notes:

  • We know that the 15th->18th editions are priced at $3.95 and is 315 pages.

Information Sources