HELP - 1910s The Empire Library

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booksandcomics
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HELP - 1910s The Empire Library

Post by booksandcomics »

Hi all,

Last request to help in this lot of comics I'm sorting for a friend, I have a copy of "The Empire Lirbary" Vol 1 #16 dated Jun 4th 1910.

From digging around the internet, I can only conclude that it it a rare publication, something that I think was only short lived, possibly only 36 issues printed in 1910. Via Friardale website I have come across this PDF article in which the author feels very little has been written about it owing to it's scarcity;

http://www.friardale.co.uk/CD%20Article ... Empire.pdf.

Has anyone got any other issues of The Empire Library? Anyone have any idea as to an approximate value, would I be best to just see how the listing goes online? Normally I have happy to just see how things go online, however, due to the potential scarcity of this I thought I would check first.

Pictures below

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stevezodiac
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Re: HELP - 1910s The Empire Library

Post by stevezodiac »

According to Denis Gifford's British Comics Price Guide The Empire Library ran for 36 issues from 19.2.1910 to 22.10.1910 and then for 28 issues as a New Series from 27.10.1910 to 6.05.1911. There were dozens of these story titles around at the time and I have examples of most but don't think i've seen the Empire Library before.

Phoenix
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Re: HELP - 1910s The Empire Library

Post by Phoenix »

According to Robert Kirkpatrick's comprehensive study From The Penny Dreadful To The Ha'penny Dreadfuller, The Amalgamated Press decided to launch The Empire Library in 1910 as a third school-based title after the immediate success of The Gem and The Magnet. Its title indicates that it was aimed at readers overseas as well as in Britain. The featured school, Rylcombe Grammar School, had already appeared in several stories in The Gem. However, most of the stories were not written by Charles Hamilton because he had fallen out with its editor Percy Griffith before its first issue appeared. Again according to Kirkpatrick, some Australian characters, Gordon Gay and the Wootton brothers, joined Rylcombe and soon earned the nickname The Three Wallabies.

After 36 issues it adopted a larger format but its page count was reduced from twenty pages to eight. Despite having two Hamilton serials, Cousin Ethel's Schooldays and The Rivals Of St. Wodes, it bit the dust after 28 further issues on May 6 1911, as Steve has already pointed out.

As far as value is concerned, I wouldn't expect to be asked for more than £5 per issue. Early issues of The Gem and The Magnet would be at least double.

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booksandcomics
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Re: HELP - 1910s The Empire Library

Post by booksandcomics »

Thanks Steve and Phoenix! This has been really helpful. From the scant information I found before posting on here, it seemed that there was a disagreement between writers / editors.

I think I will best view it as an obscure oddity in comics publications? Ignoring the war years, do we know if there were many comics / magazines from this period that were only short lived?

From reading about other issues, from today's standards, it seems remarkable that a publisher would ditch a title when sales dropped below 60,000. Most comics or magazines I have come across that originated from this ear seemed to have gone on for many successful years.

felneymike
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Re: HELP - 1910s The Empire Library

Post by felneymike »

I should think sales figures were a lot higher back then - no videogames, TV or even radio, for one thing! Plus comics were 'cheaper', even with purchasing power, inflation and wages taken into account. Though back then the poor were really poor! Oh, and Amalgamated Press shipped their publications all around the empire, which was at it's height just before World War 1, so there was a large overseas market, too.

But even so, they produced hundreds of publications at the time, and seemed to be launching a new one every few months (often advertised in existing ones, which I collect obsessively!). I should think there simply wasn't enough readers to go around! Plus anybody who particularly wanted a long-running school serial already had the Magnet and/or Gem, they didn't need another paper!

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stevezodiac
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Re: HELP - 1910s The Empire Library

Post by stevezodiac »

Further to my earlier reply I came across a copy of The Empire Library on Tuesday or Wednesday while having a tidy up. The fact it hasn't been put away suggests I bought it recently. I probably mentioned it on the "What Comics Did You Buy" Today thread.

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booksandcomics
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Re: HELP - 1910s The Empire Library

Post by booksandcomics »

Really need to get round to listing it online. I've had an Aladdins cave of comics recently that I am sorting for people and enjoying reading items from the 1910s through to the 1960s!

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