South, by Ernest Shackleton â€” a personal observation
South â€“ The Story of Shackleton’s Last Expedition 1914-1917
By Ernest Shackleton
Below are images illustrating two copies of Ernest Shackletonâ€™s South, Heinemann, 1919. Both books are the First Edition, First Printing of South. Once it was realized the paper used for text and overlays were of inferior quality and the paper would be prone to rapid discoloration and brittleness, the first printing was halted so a higher quality paper stock could be used â€“ in just under a month after production began. Nevertheless, this First Printing is the most desired copy for collectors. The images below demonstrate a variant of printing medium used on the blue-black cloth bindings of the First Printing.
The book on the left in each image shows an oxidized (tarnished) silver medium whereas the book on the right in each image shows a bright silver foil â€“ silver foil is not prone to oxidation. Aside from the obvious visual differences in the two covers, there are additional variations that are subtle but specific. The tarnished silver cover has a slightly deeper debossing for the title lettering and the â€śEnduranceâ€ť illustration. The tarnished medium also produced a slightly finer detail in the illustration of the â€śEnduranceâ€ť â€“ this distinction is both visual and tactile. These noted differences in the First Printing’s binding: oxidation, deeper debossing and finer detail, may be a direct result of using a metallic silver (sterling) medium that soon was replaced by the more commonly used, and less costly, medium of silver foil. The silver foil was the medium used for the â€śEnduranceâ€ť image and lettering on the cover and the spine lettering for all later printings of this design.