The Picture Cover:
In 1962, Grosset & Dunlap introduced the picture cover format for many of its series books.
The Nancy Drew books featured yellow spines and back covers. The basic features for
these were a matte cover with illustration, the name, author, volume number, and publisher
Grosset & Dunlap on the spine, and the spine symbol of Nancy's profile featured above.
The back covers ranged from a listing of books to ads for The Nancy Drew Cookbook.
Some books feature a listing error where after volume #25,
The Ghost of Blackwood Hall, volume #53,
The Sky Phantom was listed out of order. Also featured on the back cover were one of two
From 1962 until 1968 the back cover featured at the top right corner, a picture of Nancy adapted from
the second cover art, by Bill Gillies, to volume #6, The Secret of Red Gate Farm.
It is not the same image, however, as Red Gate Farm's cover art. The picture of
Nancy on Red
Gate Farm has her mouth slightly open. The image used on the back covers has her mouth closed. The
image is also a reverse. The image has Nancy looking left when on the cover of
Red Gate Farm
she is looking right.
Volume #'s 1-45 have this feature.
From 1969 until the mid 1980's, the back cover image in the right upper corner was changed to
a scene of the cover art to volume #44,
The Clue in the Crossword Cipher by Rudy Nappi.
This featured Nancy trying to decipher a cipher with her trusty magnifying glass!
Volume #'s 1-56 have this feature.
NO WHITE SPINES! There's a misconception out there among new collectors and uninformed sellers that "white spine" can refer to picture covers. Absolutely not--these are all yellow-spines. See the image at left--where there's one book which is rather pale--it's just faded. It doesn't matter if the rest of the book isn't faded, as it wouldn't likely be--it's the spine of the book that is typically sun-kissed and that fades.
The black lettering didn't always fade, but the yellow did. I've seen rather pristine looking books with almost white spines due to fading that seem like maybe they came this way--but they did not originally. As you can see from the spines shown, the books in this format all age differently from darkening to fading--
depending on the conditions in which they were stored. Bindery stock and inks from year to year would also add variation.
From what I have noticed, many of the early 60s yellow spines tend to have more fading than late 60s+ yellow spines.
There were book club editions (shown at left) produced with the picture cover format (same cover art and text inside)--but the back cover was solid yellow with no printing on it. For more information about these book club editions, click here.
Some of the volumes beginning around 1975 were produced with yellow bands along the top of the
front cover. These volumes were produced this way until the later glossy flashlight pcs came
out. Other volumes did not have the yellow band added to the covers.
Interesting to note, the picture at left of volume #17, The Mystery of the Brass-Bound
Trunk, is the 2nd cover art by Rudy Nappi. It was produced with the yellow band, and then
when the 3rd cover art, also by Rudy Nappi came out, the yellow band was not continued onto that
cover. The only other volume that was produced with the yellow band that was dropped when a
newer 3rd cover art came out was volume #24, The Clue in the Old Album.
These were two
books that were revised later than most had been revised.
Most of the volumes that were produced with the yellow band were 2nd or 3rd cover art.
The following chart notes which volumes were produced with a yellow band:
| Picture Cover Types: || Volumes:
| With Yellow Band || #'s 4, 6-7, 10, 17, 24-25, 28-29, 35-40, 42, 45
| Without Yellow Band || #'s 1-56
Glossy Yellow Flashlight Pcs
The glossy picture cover editions, which can still be purchased in this format in local
bookshops or online at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com, came out in the mid-1980's.
These have a yellow band for every volume across the top of the cover and a flashlight
highlighting the volume number. They have glossy boards as opposed to the earlier vintage
matte style picture
covers. They list the first six books of the series on the back cover and a little blurb about the Nancy Drew series. The spine has a flashlight graphic at the top, the title, the author, the volume number, and the publisher Grosset & Dunlap. When these first came out circa 1987, they had the double oval endpapers. Subsequent printings have blank endpapers--kind of a return to the beginning back in 1930 when the endpapers on the first few volumes were blank! Also, in recent years, the publisher licensed books #57-64 from Simon & Schuster that originally came out in the paperback format, to reprint in this yellow spine glossy picture cover format.