Signed "Screams From The Balcony". Is it legit?

I just picked up this copy of Screams From The Balcony on eBay. Bukowski signature on the page before the Editor's Notes page, and the colophon is hand-numbered 31/300 (meanwhile the colophone says osmething about 600 copies, not 300....weird eh?)

I'm no book collector, in fact this is a gift for one of my good friends who is a groomsman in my fastly approaching wedding in 3 weeks.

Here are some pics. Does it seem legit? And can anyone explain the discrepancy between the 600 copies mentioned in the colophon vs. 31/300 that is written in by hand? Thanks in advance for any help!

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Looks like you have one of the 326 numbered and lettered editions. The 600 special hardcover copies have a yellow spine while 326 edition has a red spine. You also should have a serigraph or silkscreen print a couple pages past the cover. There are 300 numbered copies with the silkscreen and red spine, and 26 lettered. Not sure what spine the lettered versions have as my copy of Krumhansl is not available right now. In later years, Black Sparrow usually released several editions at once: the paperback, the hard cover trade edition (black spine in this case), numbered edition (yellow spine for this book), numbered with print (red spine for this book) and then a lettered edition which would often have a multicolored cloth spine. Looks to me like you got a good one!!
 
A couple of points:

1. Yes, that appears to be a genuine signature, and it's rare to find a book that's called for signed (the characteristic 31/300 is Barbara Martin) to be a forgery.
2. Yours is one of the 326 numbered and lettered that is also mentioned in the colophon (300 numbered plus 26 A-Z copies) w/ the silkscreen print (which I can see the back of on the page facing the signature. Plus yours has the correct red cloth spine for that edition.
3. Buk was likely fairly ill when he signed these, and your signature looks surprisingly clean. But so does mine (on my one of 326 w/ print). Oddly, I also have one of the 600 signed but no print copies (yellow cloth spine) and his signature is more like the later signatures - very quick and less legible. I'll take some photos and edit this post.

Here's Buk's signature in my copy of Screams..., one of 300, pretty clean (and much like the late 60s/early 70s signatures), much like yours (sorry a bit blurry, but it makes my point):
Screams one of 300.JPG



And here's Buk's signature in my copy of Screams..., one of 600; much more quickly scribbled, but common for 1993-1994. It seems odd that two sigs from the one of 300 would be so clean while my sig on the one of 600 would be so different. Perhaps a coincidence, who knows?

Screams one of 600.JPG
 
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bospress.net

www.bospress.net
These signature sheets were signed at all times, so you cannot assume that a 1992 book was signed in 1992. It is possible that the sheet was signed in the 1980s. This is true whenever the signature is NOT on the colophon. When it is on the colophon, it is signed about that time, but there seem to have been a lot of blank sheets that were signed and used in later editions.
Bill
 
Thank you very much, all, for your corroborating insight. It was the 326 total = 300 numbered + 26 lettered that threw me off.
This one does indeed have have the silkscreen print on the page in front of the signature. I guess it would be a bit more "special" if he had signed this actual book, as opposed to a pre-signed page being bound into this production book....but I'll still fancy it a good gift for a great friend / Bukowski fan.
Thanks again for your help!
 

mjp

Founding member
I guess it would be a bit more "special" if he had signed this actual book, as opposed to a pre-signed page being bound into this production book...
That's how all the Black Sparrow signed editions were done, even when they are signed on the colophon.

The same thing with the paintings. He didn't paint in the finished books.
 
I guess it would be a bit more "special" if he had signed this actual book, as opposed to a pre-signed page being bound into this production book....but I'll still fancy it a good gift for a great friend / Bukowski fan.
The value of the called-for signed tend to be somewhat stronger than those Buk signed with book in hand (not called-for signed). This assumes that Buk did not add a drawing to either, of course, which may create a premium (or not so much). Perhaps there's the concern over possibility of forging in the not called-for, but generally a signed trade edition won't bring as much as a signed copy as issued.
 
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bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I don't think that Black Sparrow was the only publisher that sent pages, not books to be signed. This is how I do it and can't imagine doing it any other way. It is a LOT cheaper to send pages, not full books and it is a lot safer to not have books going back and forth if they do not need to do that. would rather have to resend pages to be signed than to rebind a full edition because the box was lost or half of the edition was damaged in transit. I would bet that it is a rare occasion when a signed edition of a release is signed as a book. Unless the author is local, or crazy enough to get on a plane and come here and sign stuff (Hosh?) then they are all done this way here...

Still, it has never bothered me that Buk signed a page and not the bound book. If you like the signature because it is something that he touched, then he still touched it. If you like the rarity, then it is still rare.
 
Here's Buk's signature in my copy of Screams..., one of 300, pretty clean (and much like the late 60s/early 70s signatures), much like yours (sorry a bit blurry, but it makes my point):

That definitely looks like a very early signature, I've never come across one of those in one of the 'late' publications. Quite unique I'd think.
 
That's how all the Black Sparrow signed editions were done, even when they are signed on the colophon.

The same thing with the paintings. He didn't paint in the finished books.

Just to be clear: the illustrated image on the page just before the autograph page is a print/reproduction of an original Buk painting, and not an actual Buk painting itself....correct? The colophon wording is throwing me off: "...original silkscreen print".
 
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