Hmmm — I wonder how many “editions” were printed of Camden’s “The Royal Game of Bezique” — maybe fifty, or maybe fifty-one — or maybe something else . . .

I wonder how many editions were printed of Camden’s The Royal Game of Bezique. (I am talking about the number of editions according to Goodall’s own numbering system.)

I believe that my own most recent edition is the Forty-Seventh Edition.

I just searched the Internet (very quickly), and found a Forty-Ninth Edition for sale (part of a set).

And I just noticed that a Fiftieth Edition was listed on eBay (I think UK only) in December 2011.

And here we begin to close-in on a decent answer to the question stated above.

On a few copies (six or so) of the “combined” version of both Professor Hoffmann’s Rubicon Bezique and Camden’s Bezique (to use the cover title) which I have checked, the note on the verso of page 29 refers to the “Fifty-first edition.”

Typically, but not always, that note in the separate publication of The Royal Game of Bezique (to use the cover title) mentions the number of the edition that is noted on the title page of any specified edition of The Royal Game of Bezique, at least as far back as the Tenth Edition, judging by booklets in my possession.  (I don’t know whether earlier editions carried that note.  My sixth edition does not appear to do so.)

Two reasonable views would be as follows:

1.  The last printing of the separate The Royal Game of Bezique was the Fiftieth Edition, and when the two works were first combined, the first printing was considered the fifty-first edition — and all subsequent printings maintained that phrase “Fifty-first edition” on page [30].  Or, as an alternative:

2.  The last separate printing of The Royal Game of Bezique was the Fifty-First Edition, and that was carried over into the combined printings.

Of course, I am doing some assuming there.  Based on the eBay listing, it would seem to me that the “last verified edition” of The Royal Game of Bezique (separate printing) was the Fiftieth Edition.

—Tom Sawyer

January 5, 2012

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