To help round-out the discussion of “scarcity” and “rarity,” I thought I would take a look at the question of “edition size” in card-game rule-booklets. I’ll start out by saying that I don’t know much about the topic. I haven’t carefully reviewed my booklets for evidence of the numbers of copies printed, but below is a little information on the topic.
Some of Goodall’s card-game rule-booklets included what I presume to be information on print runs, at the lower-left corner of the title page. The following information all comes from various copies of The Standard Rules of the Royal Game of Bezique, by “Camden.” (The edition statements shown are not in the corner of the title page, but they do appear on the title page.)
10,000-1-10. — Thirty-Second Edition
5,000-1-12. — Thirty-Fourth Edition
5,000-1-15. — Thirty-Ninth Edition
5,000-10-15. — Forty-First Edition
10,000-2-17. — Forty-Fourth Edition
10,000-2-17. — Forty-Fourth Edition (Another copy of the same edition.)
5,000-12-17. — Forty-Sixth Edition
5,000-5-19. — Forty-Sixth Edition
5,000-12-19. — Forty-Seventh Edition
I presume that the large quantity at the left is the number of copies printed, and that the two small numbers to the right represent the month and year.
I have another ten or so copies of the work, almost all of which are earlier than the foregoing, and I don’t know that any of them state the number of copies.
Now, the strange bibliographical fact has to do with the two Forty-Sixth Editions listed. The problem is that one of them shows 12-17, and the other shows 5-19. Also, the final page of advertisements is somewhat different between the two. I suppose that Goodall reprinted the booklet in May 1919, but did not change the edition number.
Additionally, I have a copy of Whist for All Players, by Captain Crawley, A New Edition, which also has printing information. It was revised by Captain Crawley’s son, Rawdon Crawley, Bart. (This presumably would be George Frederick Pardon and Charles Frederick Pardon.) The information in that booklet is as follows:
So, that printing consisted of a mere 1,000 copies. I have two other copies of that Whist booklet that do not have any similar information.