The first edition of Janet Drucker's Georg Jensen: A Tradition of Splendid Silver was published just four years ago, in 1997. Now, just a few breaths later, a revised and expanded second edition with an updated price guide is out. Given the impressive richness of the first edition, one might say,"So soon?" The first edition had gone out of print, but it would have been more usual at this remove to reprint it without revisions. The reasons are not especially apparent at first glance; the jacket design(and the jacket advertising copy) has barely changed, the general organization and graphic design of the first edition have been retained in the second, and the number of pages is about the same. When one sits down with both editions and begins to compare them page by page, the differences quickly become apparent. A very large amount of new material has been added into the new book, including 250 new images and expanded archival information on production and designers. Since the publication of the first edition, so much previously unavailable material came to light that its inclusion seemed paramount.
No matter how long and fully one has worked on a research project in the arts, as soon as one publishes, more material, often keenly interesting material, appears in response to the publication. A study of the second edition's acknowledgements suggests that the beauty and inclusiveness of the first edition brought the suthor new contacts with other dealers, collectors, museum curators, auctioneers, and other specialists, each of whom had something wonderful to add to the story.
In the case of the new photographs in the second edition, many previously unlocated Jensen pieces turned up. Some pieces illustrated in the first edition only in rather murky old catalogue or magazine photos became available for new color photography. Additional historical photos surfaced as well. The net gain of images in the new book is(by my count) just over two hundred color and black-and-white images overall. That the new addition is physically about the same size as the old one owes to a meticulous reworking of the layout on perhaps half the pages in the book. There was enough "air" (unused white space) in the basic design of the text pages for the first edition to accommodate many more photos in the second edition without choking the graceful layout of the book.
One of the most important innovations of the second edition is also easily overlooked in a casual inspection, and it will prove very useful to collectors and dealers in understanding Jensen product. The photo captions now include all Jensen design numbers that were stamped on their items of jewelry and hollowware, along with the trademarks and other marks on the back and bottoms of the pieces(only some of these were available to the author for the first edition) All Jensen jewelry and hollowware items were so marked, except for special-order pieces, and much of the earliest flatware was also marked in this way. As in the first edition, there is a full explanation of the marking system near the end of the book. Other important additions to the book are more readily apparent. These include complete reprints of the Jensen illustrated flatware catalogues for the Cactus(flatware pattern 30) and Acorn (flatware pattern 62) patterns, and for the so-called"Unique Serving Pieces". These include seventy-two ornamental serving utensils in a variety of numbered patterns not matching the full-line flatware patterns. The new edition also includes both chronological and production data for all of the sterling silver designs of Henning Koppel that were produced for the Jensen company. The Value Reference Guide has also been updated. This guide is not based on opinion but consists of actual auction records from sales in the major American and British houses over the past decade.
Given that the first edition had been sold out before public demand for the book had subsided, a reprinting would have been welcome enough. Both the author and the publisher are to be congratulated for instead producing this most significant and valuable revised and expanded second edition. I am glad to recommend it to owners of the first edition along with the ever-expanding group of collectors of Jensen"estate" silver who were not able to obtain the orginal book.