THE BLUE OXFORD PYRAMID FLYING JACKET REPRINTS

 

PAGE TWO OF EIGHT

 

 

 

 

OF THE 20 ORIGINAL OXFORD BIGGLES BOOKS, ELEVEN WERE REPRINTED IN A STANDARD FORMAT THAT HAS BECOME KNOWN AS THE “PYRAMID” EDITIONS.

 

THEY HAVE A DISTINCTIVE VIGNETTE OF A BI-PLANE FLYING OVER A DESERT SCENE WITH PALMS TREES.

IN THE BACKGROUND ARE THREE PYRAMIDS.

 

THESE BOOKS WERE ALMOST ALWAYS BLUE ALTHOUGH YOU CAN SEE THE RARE EXCEPTIONS ON THESE PAGES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THESE ELEVEN BOOKS WERE THE FIRST TO FEATURE THE “FLYING JACKET” DUST WRAPPERS – AS SEEN BELOW -  WITH A DRAWING OF A MAN, PRESUMABLY MEANT TO BE BIGGLES, STANDING ON AN AIRFIELD IN A THICK COLLARED COAT AND GAUNTLETS.

 

THE TITLE OF EACH BOOK WAS ALSO WRITTEN IN A VERY DISTINCTIVE FONT

THE FONT BEING MADE UP OF FOUR PARALLET LINES

 

AN EXAMPLE CAN BE SEEN ON THE LEFT

 

The ELEVEN titles that were initially released in this format were

 

BIGGLES FLIES EAST

 

BIGGLES HITS THE TRAIL

 

BIGGLES & CO.

 

BIGGLES IN AFRICA

 

BIGGLES – AIR COMMODORE

 

BIGGLES FLIES WEST

 

BIGGLES FLIES SOUTH

 

BIGGLES GOES TO WAR

 

THE RESCUE FLIGHT

 

BIGGLES IN SPAIN

 

BIGGLES FLIES NORTH

 

Each of these eleven titles were printed using the same printing plates as the first editions.

 

As a result they show the same date of publication as the original first editions and are often mistaken for first editions.

 

It is believed that they were actually published some TWO YEARS after the date they display, i.e. 2 years after the respective first edition

 

BIGGLES HITS THE TRAIL (1935) – June 1937

BIGGLES FLIES EAST (1935) – June 1937

 

BIGGLES & CO. (1936) – May 1938

BIGGLES IN AFRICA (1936) – May 1938

 

BIGGLES – AIR COMMODORE (1937) – May 1939

BIGGLES FLIES WEST (1937) – May 1939

 

BIGGLES GOES TO WAR (1938) – May 1940

BIGGLES FLIES SOUTH (1938) – May 1940

 

BIGGLES FLIES NORTH (1939) – Date unknown

THE RESCUE FLIGHT (1939) – Date unknown

BIGGLES IN SPAIN (1939) – Date unknown

 

Information on dates from Gary Krohn’s article

 “When the Pyramids were Built”

published in “Biggles’ Friend Magazine”

 

 

 

As the same printing plates were used for these “Pyramid” reprints and they all contained the same colour frontispiece, the contents are identical to the first editions – with two exceptions.  Those are ‘Biggles Flies East’ and ‘Biggles Flies West’.  Biggles Flies East had four illustrations on separate plates inserted into the original book.  Those plates were not in the pyramid editions.  If you only have a pyramid edition of Biggles Flies East you would never have seen the four illustrated plates.  You can see them here.  With Biggles Flies West, there was a plate that showed pictures of two original doubloon in the possession of W. E. Johns.  It was not in the pyramid reprints.  You can see that here.

 

Note that there are actually two aircraft illustrated on the spine of the dust jackets.

The one already on the ground and the one coming in to land.

 

LATER REPRINTS

 

 

 

 

 

The following EIGHT titles were released as blue bound hardback “Pyramid” editions with LATER printing dates

 

BIGGLES FLIES EAST

 

BIGGLES HITS THE TRAIL

 

BIGGLES & CO.

 

BIGGLES IN AFRICA

 

BIGGLES – AIR COMMODORE

 

BIGGLES FLIES WEST

 

BIGGLES FLIES SOUTH

 

BIGGLES FLIES NORTH

 

 

 

The blue boards are the same as above so I have not bothered to show them again

BIGGLES FLIES EAST

Had a reprint date of 1937

 

BIGGLES HITS THE TRAIL

Had a reprint date of 1941

 

BIGGLES & CO.

Had a reprint date of 1941

 

BIGGLES IN AFRICA

Had a reprint date of 1941

 

BIGGLES – AIR COMMODORE

Had a reprint date of 1940

 

BIGGLES FLIES WEST

Had a reprint date of 1941

 

BIGGLES FLIES SOUTH

Had a reprint date of 1941

 

BIGGLES FLIES NORTH

Had a reprint date of 1941

 

 

With regard to the details on the BACK of these dust jackets, I have identified four different backs.  It is difficult to be definitive about which type of back appeared on which issue of book as DJs may have been swapped about in the past by previous owners, marrying a better dust jacket with a better book.   I can’t be definitive with the differences between the first and second issues.  I have given 4 examples from my collection and my views on each

YOU WILL HAVE TO DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS

 

 

BIGGLES FLIES EAST (1935)

I have two examples of the blue pyramid for Biggles Flies East and both were printed with the 1935 plates and both have the same dust jacket.

The Biggles books shown on the back were published in 1935, 1936 and 1937, so this is consistent with this book being published in 1937.

I believe that this is the back used on the six Biggles books listed when they were first printed.  Note the 2/- shilling price.

 

 

 

BIGGLES & CO. (1941)

I have two examples of the blue pyramid for Biggles & Co in dust jackets and one was printed with the 1936 plates and one was the 1941 reprint.  The back of the DJ for the 1936 version is the same as that above, showing just six Biggles books.  The back of the 1941 reprint shows 16 Biggles books published up to 1941 (but not “Spitfire Parade” which was also published in 1941).  This is consistent with being a 1941 publication.  Some of the 1941 reprints had prices on the inner dust jacket flap and some did not.  This example is price clipped but appears to have had a printed price at some stage, because of the dotted line shown.  Presumably the price was 2/- shillings.  The same rear DJ cover is on my 1942 Grey Pyramid “Biggles in Spain”.

 

BIGGLES FLIES NORTH (1939)

I have three examples of the blue pyramid for Biggles Flies North, all in dust jackets and all were printed with the 1939 plates.  The back of the DJ for all of these versions is the one shown below, showing NO Biggles books on the rear of the book.  The inner flap, however, shows the same 16 Biggles books that appeared on the rear of the book above.  This is again consistent with being a 1941 publication.   One of my versions of Biggles Flies North also has a Christmas 1941 inscription inside the cover, so it does appear that Biggles Flies North was issued in 1941 in plates showing the 1939 date.  My blue pyramid version showing the 1941 date has no dust jacket.  Click here to see an interesting anomaly with the spines of this book.

 

 

BIGGLES FLIES SOUTH (1938)

My two examples of the blue pyramid for Biggles Flies South both have dust jackets.  One was printed with the 1938 plates and the other is the 1941 reprint.  The back of the dust jacket for the 1938 version is exactly the same as that for the 1941 version.  Both dust jackets are identical in all aspects.  (Was this a result of jacket swapping by past owners?).  The back of both books show “The Pageant of Progress” as below.  However, the titles in the book list below differs from the example above.  Both jackets show the 13 Biggles books on the inner flap published up to 1940 (but not “Biggles in the South Seas” which was also published in 1940).  This is consistent with being a 1940 or 1941 publication.  What is very interesting is that both my examples have unclipped dust jackets yet they show no price(!).  So the bookseller could put on the price they wanted?  Or were these books for export?  The example below has 2/- shillings hand written on in pencil by a previously seller.  I would like to be able to say that all of the reprinted pyramid books with later than first editions dates were unpriced – but from the examples I have, I cannot say that.

 

 

 

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