A lot of people get confused when trying to tell the difference between a Random House 1st edition, 1st – 7th print of Hells Angels, and a book club edition. Someone can get stung badly by buying one of these from a dishonest seller, or buying it from someone and thinking you are getting a bargain. I hope to clear up some issues about this.
Random House did 7 printings of Hells Angels. All the regular Hells Angels have a statement of printed edition on the copyright page. It will say First printing, Second Printing or Third Printing or Fourth Printing etc.
All of the above prints will have a SILVER MOTORCYCLE on the front cover (not on the dust jacket) of the book. They will also have a BLACK STAIN on the top closed edge of the book. On the front inside flap of the dust jacket on the top there will be a price (maybe it will be clipped) mine is priced $4.95, and on the bottom there will be 1/67. If the book has no dust jacket it will be no where near as valuable a one with a dust jacket, as a general rule having no dust jacket can cut the value in half but bare in mind there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to this, although it does apply a lot of the time.
I have been told but cannot absolutely verify this yet…”The first 2 print runs of the regular Random House Hells Angels the 1st printing & 2nd printing were reportedly runs of 5000 copies. 5 thousand each printing. I emailed Random House regarding this and as soon as I hear back from them I will confirm it here. 5000 is a very low print run and makes the 1st and 2nd printings very rare. One more thing. All the Random House Hells Angels are slightly larger and thicker than the book club editions.
The book club editions or BCE. The very early BCE will have the silver motorcycle on the front cover but will not have the black stain on the top closed edge, but it will have a RED stain on the top closed edge. And the later BCE will have a RED motorcycle on the front cover. The easy way to tell the difference without opening the book is this if there is no black stain on the top closed edge of the book it is a BCE. All of the BCE have no specific statement of a printed edition on copyright page. They say “copyright 1966/67”. Nothing else, no first printing etc. The dust jacket on the BCE has “Book Club Edition” on the front inside lower part of the flap.
I hope this is a help and no one gets fleeced when on the hunt for this holy grail of books. The pictures below are of my copy of Hells Angels 2nd print, just so you can physically see what i am talking about.
Here is a Book Club Edition I found for sale on the web. The seller does not say that it is a Book Club Edition, maybe he or she does not know, but it shows you have to be careful. Note on the copyright page the absence of the 1st edition etc