The Guinness Book of Records is the world's best selling book after the Bible - a fact which means that although collectable, many of the back editions are still available cheaply at car boots and jumble sales.

The first edition was published in August 1955, it turned out to be such an instant success that its first impression quickly sold out and three more impressions were eventually issued.

 All four of these impressions were bound in green cloth with the Guinness harp logo embossed. Needless to say, the most prized impression, is the original first one, and of course, the hardest to get. Some of the first impressions were sold with clear cellophane covers and if you can get one of these in good condition, you'll find collectors who are prepared to pay more than fifty pounds for them. The other impressions are also hard to find and would sell at around twenty five pounds upwards in fine condition.

With the first edition such an instant best seller, Guinness never looked back, beginning work immediately on their second edition which was greatly enlarged. This edition was also issued with a dustjacket for its second impression, and had the lowest print run of any Guinness Book of Records; we thus have the unusual situation of the second impression being worth more than the first.
One thing which Collect it! found confusing at first, relates to the edition numbers.

After the fourth edition there was a change in the allocation of the edition numbering. The Librarian's Association and Bookseller's Association ruled that editorial changes should be regarded as separate editions. This meant that the FOURTH IMPRESSION of the first edition was re-classified as the FOURTH EDITION. The 1962 edition therefore automatically became the tenth edition.

The sixteenth edition was the last to be issued in a dustjacket (except for some special editions). Thereafter the books were printed in a larger format with a multi-coloured laminated board cover.
By November 1974, the Guinness Book of Records had earned its own entry by becoming the top selling copyright book in publishing history.

Following on from the original books, two years later in 1976, the Guinness Book of Answers was launched, it too became an annual publication, but doesn't command the same value as the Record Books themselves.    

 As the venture went from success to success, the 1984 edition of the Record Book saw the opening of the Guinness World of Records in Piccadilly Circus, their popularity now guaranteed. But, by 1994 the book which had been designed for adults, was re-designed to appeal more to children with the addition of more tables and illustrations.

The ultimate goal is to collect all of the  editions available.


The books were started after Sir Hugh Beaver, the managing director of Guinness took part in a debate as to whether the Golden Plover was Europe's fastest game bird. He realised questions like this were being asked all over the country and in 1954 approached Norris and Ross McWhirter.


 The two brothers ran a fact finding agency and Sir Hugh commissioned them to publish the first books. Norris and Ross continued to jointly edit the books until Ross was killed by the IRA in 1975. Norris finally stood down as editor in 1986.


Fine condition: the book appears to be in excellent condition, but closer inspection will show some evidence of ownership including small inscriptions. Dust jackets are as new, but with slight rubbing on the corners.       


 Collectibles Coach

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