Enid Blyton's popular character Noddy has had many books and editions written about him worldwide, but none can compare to the original 24 books that Enid Blyton wrote in the 1950's and 1960's. These original dustwrapper copies are now highly collectable and the true first editions are fairly hard to spot from the similar reprint versions. A true first edition with dustjacket in good condition can now command prices of £50 upwards in most bookshops, so it is important that you can distinguish the original books.
A few quick tips
The original Noddy books all had GOLLY on the front cover - in the late1980's, these were not allowed to be published on the books anymore!
You cannot identify a true first edition if it doesn't have it's original dustwrapper, as the dustwrapper holds 75% of the information required. All first edition books were issued with a dustwrapper.
No 1st Edition Noddy book is dated until 1958. This includes all Noddy books, strip books and annuals.
Most first editions you would expect to be well worn/with child's inscriptions etc, very few books would be in excellent condition, as some of these books are now over 50 years old and were well-loved and well-read by most children. A Noddy original in mint condition would be a rare find (but a few do exist!).
Points to look for:-
These were found on first edition books 1-6, rather than numbers 7 - 24 which had flat spines. The rounded spines were also thicker (15mm)..
The address on the introductory page
The address and publisher's name listed on the introductory page is a good clue to editions -
First Edition Books Nos 1 - 6 quoted "Sampson Low Marston & Co Ltd, 25 Gilbert Street, London W1"
First Edition Books Nos 7, 8 and 11 quotes "Sampson Low Marston & Co Ltd and CA Publications Ltd"
First Edtion Books Nos 9 - 10 quotes "Sampson Low Marston & Co Ltd and Pleiades Books Ltd"
First Edition Books Nos 12 - 15 and 17 - 18 quotes "Sampson Low Marston & Co Ltd and Dennis Dobson Ltd"
First Edition Books Nos 16 and 21 quote "Sampson Low Marston & Co Ltd and DV Publications Ltd"
First Edition Books Nos 19 - 20 and 22 - 24 quote "Sampson Low Marston & Co Ltd and The Richards Press Ltd"
List of Titles on the Dustwrapper Flaps
It wasn't until Book No 12, that a list of titles was published on the dustwrapper flaps. If you have a first edition then the title should be the last one on the list. Books 1 - 11 had various illustrations of Toby Twirl and Timothy Nicholas on the dustwrapper flaps. On the last book (24) this makes it much harder to check for a first edition, so you need to carefully check other references listed below.
Noddy Figure on the Spine
The Noddy figure on the top of the spine varies from book to book, earlier first edition books had an older style Noddy figure while the figure on the later editions changed in appearance and became more modern looking.
Books from No.16 onwards were published with a date inside. No.16 being published in 1958.
The last book (24) had the date printed in roman numerals (1963-MCMLXIII). This was the only Noddy book to have the date published in this way. Records show that this book was actually published in 1964!
Prices printed on the dustwrapper flap
Books No.1 - 15 were originally priced at 3s 6d but books 16- 24 were more expensive at 4s 6d!
Book No. 24
Because this book is last on the list, it is much harder to check for a first edition but there are some other clues.
The original first edition book had the word "Aeroplane" on the inside title page printed in just one colour orange while the other words were multi-coloured. On the dustwrapper and front cover board, all of the words including 'aeroplane' are mutli-coloured. Not sure whether this was a printing error?!
This just about covers all the tips I can give you. There are Enid Blyton web sites on the internet with photographs of each dustcover copy, so you can do a more accurate check of your books.
Please check Ebay descriptions very carefully before bidding or buying Noddy First Edition books as there are very few true 1st Editions out there. If there is not enough description on the advert to prove a first edition, then just ask the sellers a few questions. Beware of dustcover jackets that don't match the actual books as these are sometimes changed over, you need to check the pictures carefully.