Slip it in

Puffin Story Books vintage advertisement

Whilst I try not to collect Penguin and Puffin books, the paper things that advertised them creep on to the shelves with no aforethought. And little regret.

This is a perfect piece of 9 x 12 cm paper and a lovely example of the genre. It is advertising a book price. More to the point a lovely Puffin story book price. Those books are almost always worth a gander in my opinion. Rich in pretty covers, interesting in written things and steeped in ‘I want that’ ness. I have given in to the picture book series and have plenty of them. Only a very few of the story books so far.

This scrap is printed in a sharp navy and a perky red ink. It seems to be letterpress printed, such care over such a nothing. It is on nice thin paper and feels delicate and slip-in-able to a book. I think this must surely be an advertising slip or flyer, for tucking in to another book purchase at the sales desk.

And it bears the famous (among bibliophiles) Puffin books logo. A happy, fat Puffin. I think this is the 1938 Puffin logo designed by their lettering and graphic hero Jan Tschichold. Although designed primarily for putting on the books, the Puffin holds his own as the star of this tasteful, minimal layout.

Certainly this looks like a lot of 30s and 40s things I have frottaged. It also looks like a lot of Curwen Press things I have seen, too, and perhaps they made this. The Puffin picture books were many of them lithographed at Curwen, so perhaps it’s not a perhaps but a probably?

NB I hear tell (from a reader of note and information) that Jan Tschichold did not join until after the war, that twas Cowells and not Curwen for the printing and that the books themselves are post 1940. So the facts I got wrong, whilst the sentiment of paper worship still stands. And anyway I hope most of you just look at the nice picture and don’t get as far as this errata.



So how many times now have you tried to convince that you do not collect Penguin/Puffin books and/or ephemera?


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