Nicholas Vane (London, UK)
Series dates: 1947-1949
Size: 5″ x 7.5″
Sampson Low, Son, & Co. issued a series of children’s books using the series name the Goldfinch Story-Books around 1856. As far as I can find, the Goldfinch series name was not used again until publisher Nicholas Vane issued the Goldfinch Titles beginning in 1947.
A short-lived series from a minor London publisher, the Goldfinch Titles debuted with two titles in 1947, followed by 5 more in 1948 and one in 1949. No more than those 8 titles seem to have been published.
I have found almost nothing about publisher Nicholas Vane, whose first titles appear in 1947 and last until 1970. Besides the Goldfinch Titles and a scattering of literary books, most of the publisher’s output consists of travel, sports and pet books.
The books in the series seem to be of higher than average quality, with solid binding, illustrations, and details not seen in many other reprint series. The price at 8s/6d was higher than many other competing series.
Eight titles were published in the Goldfinch Titles series. The six Austin titles were allegedly available in two three-title boxed sets (according to the dust jacket below).
Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (reprint, 1949)
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (reprint, 1948)
Emma, by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
Persuasion & Love and Friendship, by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton
Barchester Towers, by Anthony Trollope
A copy of Trollope’s Barchester Towers was first published in the Goldfinch Titles series in 1949. Series jackets are unique to each title, with illustrations from historical sources. The series name and logo is included on the jacket spine. The front jacket flap includes the second (and last) group of titles published in the series. The floating head, wine glass icon, and series logo are sprinkled around the jacket, making the design seem a bit overwrought.
The front jacket flap implies that five more Trollope titles are in preparation, but this Trollope title was the last published by Vane in the series.
The series logo is again included, alone, on the back of the jacket. A list of the initial seven titles in the series is found on the rear flap.
Black cloth binding with gold lettering.
Endpapers include additional illustrations related to the book.
Half-title page with the book title and series colophon.
A brief author bio faces the title page. Once again, the goldfinch colophon.
A nicely detailed copyright page includes the original printing of the title as well as the date of publication in the Goldfinch Titles. A list of other Barchester novels by Trollope, the source of the jacket and book illustrations, type-face, and printing details are included on the page.
The rear endpapers repeat the illustrations on the front endpapers.
A 1952 entry in The Bookseller indicates “Nicholas Vane are withdrawing all Goldfinch titles, and are willing to accept booksellers’ stocks in saleable condition, if returned by April 1st.”