Thanks to Paul Bienvenue for pointing out that the contest blank can also be found in copies of the second printing in Binding A of John Dough and the Cherub. This means that the only 100 percent reliable way to distinguish between a first and second printing is to check for the cage/cave misprint on page 275.
In an email, Paul went on to write:
I suspect that, like Santa Claus, the two "printings" were probably issued simultaneously. There is even a chance that they represent a state change, as with Patchwork Girl, due to a stop-press correction of the cage-for-cave error, which would make them different states of the first printing rather than two separate printings. However, that would make all subsequent R&B issues also "first printings," which is problematic in its own way. The first printing / second printing divide seems the best solution to an ambiguous situation.
The moral of the story is that Oz-Baum bibliography is complicated and entails a certain amount of detective work!
One of my favorite parts of collecting Oz and Baum books is learning how to tell the difference between various printings that look nearly identical to the casual observer. For example, there are only two differences between the first and second printings of L. Frank Baum's children's fantasy of 1906, John Dough and the Cherub.
First, the first printing has a detachable contest blank for “The Great John Dough Mystery” tipped on to the inner margin of page 9. The second printing does not.
Second, the first
printing has a
misprint on page
275 in which the
word “cave" is
printed as “cage.”
The typo is
page 275 of
Another difference between my first and
second printings is that the first printing is bound in Binding A, whereas the second printing is bound in Binding B.
In Binding A, the publisher’s spine imprint reads “The Reilly & Britton Co.” in large and small capital letters. In Binding B, the imprint is shortened to "Reilly & Britton," and the type is in upper- and lowercase letters. Note that you cannot use this point alone to differentiate between the first and second printings because some second printings were bound in Binding A! To further confuse things, the second printing is found in five different binding states.
Reilly & Lee did something unusual when it reprinted John Dough in 1920; it retained all 12 color plates, but it printed text on the versos of the plates! This is the only Baum or Oz book that I know of with text on the opposite sides of the plates. Needless to say, it's much more serious if your copy of this book is missing a plate because that means it's also missing part of the story.
Reilly and Lee reprinted the book again in 1927, but this time it dropped all the plates except for the color insert facing the title page. The other plates were rendered as full-page black and white illustrations.
Dover Publications' 1974 edition was also paperback, but it retained John R. Neill's original illustrations.
In 2008 Hungry Tiger Press printed a beautiful hardcover edition, which also included the original illustrations. Twenty-five copies were released as a "deluxe limited edition" that came with a slipcase and place marker ribbon.
As a final note I should add that I didn't figure out how to differentiate between all these books by myself. I rely heavily on The Book Collector's Guide to L. Frank Baum and Oz by Paul Bienvenue. I consider this book indispensable for anyone who is serious about collecting vintage copies of the Oz and Baum books.