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    Re: Old American Practical Navigators
    From: Peter Smith
    Date: 1998 Jun 01, 8:43 AM

    On Fri 29 May 1998 17:42:49 -0700, Gordon Talge  asked:
    >
    > I just picked up a 1928 edition of the American Practical Navigator
    > by Bowditch for $10.00 at a used book store.
    >
    > Interesting enough, they had a 1939 edition for $35.00 and beat up at
    > that. I have seen several 1939 and 1943 editions for $10 to $12.=20
    > Couldn't understand why the 39 one would be $35.00 and the 28 one
    > would be $10.00.
    >
    > Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had come across even older editons
    > maybe dating back to the 1800s.
    
    Odd that the 1928 was cheaper: I see a lot of 1930's editions, going
    for around $20 in good condition. Lots of that vintage were printed
    for WW-II reservists, and as that generation dies off or moves to
    Florida, they're easy to find.
    
    Over the years I've managed to pick up an old Blunt edition and a
    representative group of government editions. The government editions
    were revised at about 20-year intervals, and seeing the changes gives
    a good chronology of how various methods came into and out of common
    use -- i.e., lunars, separate latitude and  longitude sights vs.
    sights for an LOP, Sumner Lines vs. altitude-intercept methods, etc.
    
    If you're interested in tracking down some other copies, here's a very
    brief outline of the various editions:
    
        1802-1863  31 editions published by the Blunt family (1802-1807
                   as Edmund M Blunt, Newburyport, Massachusetts; 1811-
                   1863 as E&GW Blunt, NY). A first edition in Fine
                   condition can run $3200-4000, other Blunt editions
                   are usually $100-250, with the Civil War editions
                   running a little higher. For more information, the
                   indispensable reference is John Campell's _History and
                   Bibliography of the New American Practical Navigator
                   and The American Coast Pilot_ (Salem, Mass.: Peabody
                   Museum, 1964)
    
        1868-1995  The government bought the copyright from the Blunts
                   and took over publication as Pub. 9 of the Hydrographic
                   Office (or "HO 9" for short). Printings are every few
                   years, almost every year in wartime, with major
                   revisions every 20 years or so. In the 1970's, the
                   tables and appendices became so large that they were
                   spun off into a second volume. There were two such
                   editions: 1975(V2) + 1977(V1), and 1981(v2) + 1984(v1).
                   These two-volume editions are wonderful references, but
                   quality control of the binding process was not good.
                   Government editions are not expensive: 20th-century
                   printings usually run around $20, 19th-century a little
                   higher if in good shape.
    --
    Peter Smith -- psmith{at}wellspring.us.dg.com
    Data General Corp., Westboro, Massachusetts  (for whom I do not speak)
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