Hunting through some boxes not looked at for a while I came across this proof copy of “J. B. Yeats Letters To His Son W. B. Yeats” published by Faber and Faber in 1944. I can’t remember where I picked it up but it must have been because it says on the front “With Alan Bott’s Compliments’ and 1944 was of course the year PAN was registered as a company by Alan Bott. It also says inside that it is from the library of J. B. Priestly and PAN published Priestley titles. Gordon Young recalls meeting Priestley (below) in Paris when they were shipping books over on the ‘Laloun’:
“While in Paris, as I mentioned earlier, we were fortunate to be able to moor alongside the floating club house of the Touring Club de France (TCF) which lay just upstream from the Pont de la Concorde, usually arriving late Friday afternoon, giving us a couple of free days before proceeding upstream to the commercial dock at Quay Austerlitz to load. Aubrey Forshaw (ADF) was a great Francophile and love to slip over to Paris when we were there. One time he decided to hold a drinks party on board for several authors who happened to be in Paris – I think there might have been some literary event on at the time. So we ‘dressed ship’, set out a drinks table and I suppose we must have about twenty people aboard but the only one I can remember now was J B Priestley. Pan had recently published his ‘Three Time Plays’ and as it happened I had a copy. Thinking I might get him to sign my copy, I approached the great man, who had settled himself in a chair on the after deck, away from the main crowd, and was enjoying a quite moment with a large whisky. I asked very politely if he would sign my copy and was very rudely told to “F……….off, I never do signings”. I realised he had had more than one whisky !”
I recently had several emails from Grant Thiessen of BookIT Inc in Winnipeg with scans of PAN book covers he has, one of which was ‘Moll Flanders’ by Daniel Defoe. This reminded me I have never updated the ‘mistake’ page for this title which was originality issued as X433 but mysteriously changed to the incorrect X438 in the 3rd printing.
With X433 becoming X438 it meant there were now two with the same number namely ‘Moll Flanders’ and ‘A Prince For Inspector West’. As all the catalogues correctly list X438 as the Creasey I went to re-scan it at a larger size to be pleasantly surprised to find it signed by Creasey. I think this is just fortuitous as I do not remember buying a copy sold as such. I’ve looked at other examples of the signature and it does appear to be as genuine as any of these can be without full provenance.