RARA-AVIS: Re: A Complete List of Gold Medal Paperbacks from 1949-1968

From: jwwoolley (JohnWWoolley@comcast.net)
Date: 28 Jan 2010

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    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Jeff Vorzimmer <jvorzimmer@...> wrote:
    > I'm not even
    > sure what the letter designations mean. I do know that the letter D
    > stood for double on those books that were "double size", I don't know
    > what the R, S, T, and K just before the catalog numbers mean.

    Those letters are price codes. Books without a prefix were 25 cents. An s or G prefix means 35 cents, k 40 cents, L 45 cents, d 50 cents, R 60 cents, T 75 cents, M 95 cents, P $1.25, Q $1.50. (X and C came later, for even higher prices.) The capitalization of the prefixes is inconsistent, except that G and L are always capitalized. This scheme is constant for all the old Gold Medals, except that:

    1. 184, 192, 198, and 338 are marked "Gold Medal Giant", and have 35 cent cover prices and no letter prefix. (G205, G207, and G212 -- the only G prefixes -- are also marked "Gold Medal Giant".) The s prefix was first used on s312, and invariably for 35-cent books beginning with s339.

    2. s1354 (the 2nd printing of John D. MacDonald's SLAM THE BIG DOOR) is cover-priced 50 cents. (I think this must indicate a last-minute change of mind about what the price should be.)

    3. Canadian printings always use the same numbering (including the prefix) as the American printings, but are usually priced higher. When American printings were to be sold in Canada, the price-markup was done sometimes by printing the Canadian price on the cover of the American printing, and sometimes by affixing a round yellow sticker saying "Gold 35c Medal" over the printed (American) cover price.

    4. British printings were numbered without any reference to the American/Canadian printings; as far as I know they never used the letter prefixes.

    Fawcett Crest books had an identical prefixing scheme to the Fawcett Gold Medals; I don't know whether there were any Crest exceptions. All the Fawcett Red Seals were sold at 35 cents.

    -- John Woolley

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