The old book MORALS AND DOGMA by Albert Pike is one of the most famous books in Freemasonry. It went through many editions between the 1870s to present ! Countless people - including some of the most knowledgeable book dealers - mistake the later 1881 edition for the 1871/72 first edition!!! This is an easy error to make, but has huge ramifications among collectors. The first edition is FAR more rare than the 1881 edition, which itself is still very scarce. Simply put; the 1st edition should read "5632" on the title page, for its Masonic Year Date.
Before going into any explanation I will state very simply a couple tell tale signs of the true first edition. The copyright page will state only 1871. As an interesting aside - the front cover will have the 33rd degree triangle pointing downward instead of upward - although this ALSO happened on the 1881 edition cover...The title page of the first edition will have the masonic year of " 5632." This last fact is CRUCIAL!
The confusion seems to arise in that the 1881 editions' copyright page fails to list 1881 as an added year of publication, and thus only says 1871 on it...but if you look at an 1881 edition's masonic year as stated on the title page - that will now say "5641" (no longer the "5632" of the original first edition!!!). So if you think you have the first edition - BUT the title page says a masonic calender year of 5641 - you actually have the later 1881 edition. But don't be too disappointed as even the 1881 edition of MORALS AND DOGMA by Albert Pike is considered a very early and very scarce edition!
The first edition is indeed EXTREMELY rare - Pike copyrighted the text for it in 1871 - however the publisher only managed to send the very first copy of it to Albert Pike himself, on March 2, 1872....
Identifying true 1st edition of MORALS AND DOGMA - Pike
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8 September 2012
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