The first edition of this classic Joseph Heller book was published by Simon and Schuster in 1961. It was 443 pages long, and the original retail price was $5.95 . The first edition identification criteria are as follows: FIRST PRINTING is stated on the copyright page. Book is blue cloth with white titles on spine and top edge stained red. Dust jacket has $5.95 price on the bottom of the front flap, and author's picture on the back panel with no blurbs.
Catch-22 is one of Time Magazine's 100 Best Novels. Other Time 100 Novels include To Kill a Mockingbird and The Moviegoer
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Picture of the 1961 first edition dust jacket for Catch-22.
Picture of the first edition copyright page for Catch-22.
Picture of dust jacket where original $5.95 price is found for Catch-22.
Picture of the back dust jacket for the first edition of Catch-22.
Picture of the first edition Simon and Schuster boards for Catch-22.
April 4, 2009, 12:36 pm
Curious about "points" and status of 1961 editions/printings of Catch22...
I have a "so-called" (booksellers tell me) book club edition. No, it does not have the price on the jacket, nor "FIRST PRINTING" on copyright page.
HOWEVER, it is printed from the SAME litho plate layout as the "true" FP's. And the cover (except for price...) is exactly as the FP. And...the paper, binding, and staining (top) is the same.
That leaves a peculiar conclusion. IF it is a book-club edition...then Simon and Schuster printed EXTRA copies and delivered them to a book club for sale. If so, this is NOT a "book-club" EDITION, but a printing run...delivered to a sales outlet...much like the copies delivered to major book store chains...
I may be "raging against the storm..." (hmmmm, not quite accurate..!), but I have been informed so many times: " oh...it's a book club edition...!"
It seems to me that if Simon and Schuster diverted some of the print run to a book club...it is still a FIRST EDITION! (as to the printing generation...well....hmmmm??? Good question...)
Thanks in advance... for any information anyone can supply.
That leaves two conclusions
July 22, 2009, 9:01 pm
Copies identical to the one you describe (same artwork, size & binding as original but no price or statement of edition) could be purchased off remainder tables in the early 1990s -- there is no evidence that they are anything but reprint editions issued or licensed by Simon & Schuster. Close comparison to first editions shows that the artwork is actually from later generation printing plates.
Actually more research needs to be done comparing first edition copies as I have seen at least three variant jackets. These are almost exactly alike, the only difference being minute variations in the level of detail in the photograph of Heller, and only observable when comparing multiple copies simultaneously. At present there is no known priority, and the difference is so subtle no one seems to particularly care.
January 9, 2010, 4:57 pm
Thanks, Dan (see above, July 2009). It is nice to know that someone has seen this printing... (ie, the one I have). I will continue to research...but it will be hard to compare different book jackets... (if not impossible for me...). Only records from Simon and Schuster would reveal details.
Oh...the nuances, the nuances!! (The Devil is in the -unknown- detail...!)
February 14, 2010, 11:45 am
i also believe i have a copy similar to tonkaprints, the other difference is in the headband which is wooven/stiched in blue & white, this is far more detailed than the genuine second printing copy that i have and am also curious as to it origin. this is also a 443 p edition as opposed to most book club 472p.
any further info very welcome
June 13, 2010, 8:59 pm
I have what i think is a subtle BCE, maybe related to what you're discussing. Unfortunately i'm missing the DJ, but it has mimicked many of the points of a true first. It has blue cloth with white titles on spine but hard lighter blue boards and top edge stained red; copyright page, word for word, is exactly the same as pictured above (except it lacks the "first printing" statement). The red staining, cut of the pages, paper quality, all feel 'right,' but something (the overall weight maybe? hard to explain) about it feels a bit off. I also notice that it lacks the "1961" on the title page ("simon and schuster ● new york ● 1961" as seen in the true firsts).
June 13, 2010, 9:00 pm
(btw, i noticed today (june 13, 2010) there is at least one pictured BCE exactly like mine on abebooks selling as a 'first edition'... buyer beware!)
Disclaimer: This website is intended to help guide you and give you insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. The information is compiled from the experience of reputable collectors and dealers in the industry. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science, and new identication criteria and points of issue are sometimes discovered that may contradict currently accepted identification points. This means that the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and correct it.