by Steve Darley
After collecting Sabatini
for over ten years, I finally realized that only by making up a
comprehensive check list of books written by Sabatini would it
be possible to track the important editions of his books. In the
process of putting together the list which can be found on the
egroup web site, I have began to understand which items are
the extremely rare ones.
The following list is my list, not necessarily in order of
rarity, of those Sabatini items which a dedicated collector will
have difficulty finding. Hopefully, other collectors will have
some additional items to add.
- The Lovers of Yvonne.This is Sabatini's first
full-length published novel. It was published in 1902 by
Pearson. At the time of publication Pearson was publishing a
fiction magazine in England. Sabatini was a regular
contributor to this magazine (see list of Sabatini magazine work compiled
by Jesse Knight). This is an extremely rare item, which was
only published in England. That same year (1902) G.P. Putnam
published the same novel in the US but called it The
Suitors of Yvonne. The US edition is also rare but not as
rare as The Lovers of Yvonne. Suitors actually appeared on
ebay a couple of months ago. Apparently Sabatini did not like
this book and would not agree to reprint it. Perhaps this is
one reason for its scarcity. Neither of the editions referred
to above was issued with a dust jacket so the rarity is with
the book not the jacket.
- Love at
Arms. Hutchinson first published this book in England in
1907. A first Hutchinson edition is very rare particularly
with a dust jacket. One would expect the British edition to
be hard to find in the US. The first, and only, US edition
was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1924 but actually
printed in England. The first by Houghton Mifflin is hard to
find in the US and almost impossible to find in a dust
jacket. Anyone owning a first Houghton Mifflin in jacket has
an extremely rare item. Surprising for a book published in
1924. I would have to guess that Sabatini did not like this
book and never encouraged it being reprinted. Love at
Arms was not included in the Writings of Sabatini
published by Houghton Mifflin in 1924.
- Scaramouche. Scaramouche was published in 1921 in
England by Hutchinson and in the US that same year by
Houghton Mifflin. For American collectors Scaramouche in a
dust jacket published by Houghton Mifflin is very hard to
find. This is true even though Scaramouche was Sabatini's
first big seller and has been reprinted in countless
editions. Captain Blood, which was published one year
later and is undoubtedly Sabatini's single most popular
book, is easier to find in a first Houghton Mifflin edition
with a jacket. Ebay also had a Captain Blood with a
jacket earlier this year (2002). Why a first Houghton Mifflin
Captain Blood is easier to find than
Scaramouche is one of the mysteries of book
collecting. The rarity of Scaramouche is definitely
with the jacket.
- Historical Nights
Entertainment. This title was published in three series
in both the US and England. The first, second and third
series published in England by various publishers is rare
with a dust jacket. What is surprising is that the US
editions are also very difficult to find with a dust jacket.
J P Lippincott published the first US edition of Series one
and two in 1917 and 1919. These books are rare without a
jacket and extremely rare with a jacket. The first Houghton
Mifflin edition of Series one and two was published in 1924.
It is very difficult to find a copy of either of the Houghton
Mifflin firsts with a jacket. Again, the jacket is the
- Justice of the Duke.This title has never been
published in the US under the name of the Justice of the
Duke. The short stories contained in the book were
included in The Banner of the Bull contained in the
Definitive Edition of the Writings of Rafael Sabatini.
Stanley Paul published the Justice of the Duke in
1912. The first Stanley Paul edition in dust jacket is rare
both in England and the US.
- Arms and the
Maid. This is the title of the first US edition of what
was later called Mistress Wilding when published by
Houghton Mifflin in 1924. This edition was published by G.P.
Putnam in 1910. It is very scare and hard to obtain. It is
extremely rare in dust jacket.
- Lippincott books. Between 1915 and 1919 Lippincott published
first US editions of five Sabatini booksSea
Hawk, Banner, The Snare, Historical
Nights Series One and Historical Nights Series
Two. The Lippincott books were printed in England and
released in the US. These books are difficult to find without
a dust jacket and are extremely rare with the jacket. Many
collectors have assumed that the Houghton Mifflin edition of
these five books is the first US edition but the true firsts
are the Lippincott books.
- The Reaping. The Readers Library published this book
in England in 1929. It has never been published in the US. As
with many other Sabatini books only published in England,
The Reaping is extremely rare and hard to find with a
jacket. The first edition of The Reapingis small and
looks a lot like some of the reprint editions of Sabatini
books published in both England and the US.
- Signed Sabatini Books.
Unfortunately Sabatini was not as aggressive at signing his
books as Robert B Parker and others are today. Therefore, a
signed Sabatini is a very rare item indeed. Even more
unlikely to find would be a signed edition published in the
US. I suspect Sabatini was not a constant visitor to America
even after his star had risen and his books were in strong
Personally, I have The Reaping in jacket,
The Suitors of Yvonne and two signed Sabatini books. I
would be interested to see how many of the rarities listed here
are owned by Sabatini web site visitors. Let us know!
Editions table is available on this web site.
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Last updated 29 March 2008. opyright 2002 by Steve
Darley. Any concerns or
problems about this site, please contact Rimfire.