Ing Ladybird books turn 100 years old
lished’ date on the title page as this does not guarantee you have a first edition.
“But there are clues that can help. For example, in 1961 the Ladybird logo changed from an open to a closed winged ladybird while in 1965 the dust jacket was abandoned in favour of a matt board cover.’
Charlesworth says the book’s condition is key and that a dust jacket can add ten times to the value.
Day believes the allure of the Ladybird books has a lot to do with their use of beautiful illustrations.
Among her favourite artists involved in bringing Ladybird books to life are Martin Aitchson, Harry Wingfield, John Berry, Robert Lumley and former Dan Dare artist Frank Hampson.
Original artwork from these illustrators can cost anything from a few hundred rands to more than R15 000.
Day provides details of available art and books on her website Ladybird Fly Away Home. “The colourful illustrations certainly captured the imagination of inquisitive minds but it was not until the 1960s that Ladybird really took advantage of this with more educational books – and this helped boost their appeal.”
There is no market in modern Ladybird books. Sadly, by the 1980s photographs instead of illustrations started to be used and demand for Ladybirds fell.
CLASSICS THAT WILL ALWAYS FLY OFF THE SHELVES
First edition book 1964. Peter and Jane – plus Pat the dog. Author was education adviser William Murray and early artist Harry Wingfield.
First published in 1953 in only a small print run. Written by George Murray and illustrated by Xenia Berkeley. Followed adventures of Horace the horse. Only story in the series and just three editions printed. – Mail On Sunday
MAZING: Helen Day is the owner of 1 500 Ladybird books.