Sampson Low’s Sixpennies

Sampson Low (London, UK)
Series dates: 1938-1939
Size: 4.25″ x 7″
Revised 6/15/2023

The British publisher Sampson Low was named after its founder, who, with his son Sampson Jr. established the firm in 1848 in London. The firm lasted until 1969, when it was absorbed into Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd. (now part of the Little, Brown Book Group).

Sampson Low’s Sixpennies series was typical of late 1930s paperback reprint series competing in the market opened up by Penguin. An announcement of the series appeared in The Publishers’ Circular and the Publisher & Bookseller on January 22, 1938.

The Obstinate Virgin by Sinclair Murray (the pen name of Canadian author Alan Sullivan) is undated but among the spring 1938 titles announced in the series (in The Publishers’ Circular and the Publisher & Bookseller, Volume 148, 1938). A recent review of The Obstinate Virgin can be found here. Additional titles were published (all by Jeffery Farnol) in 1939. As far as I can find, no titles were published beyond 1939.

Jackets on this paperback series had a simple geometric design with “Fiction” in the top band, the title and author, and the series name. The price (6d. net) is at the top of the jacket spine, along with the title, author, series number (in this case, #16), and publisher. The front jacket flap advertises a non-series book published by Sampson Low.

The rear of the jacket lists two categories (“Novels…” and “True Life Stories…”) and, as of the issue of this title (1938), thirty-three tiles. The series expanded to 49 listed titles the next year with a run of 16 Jeffery Farnol titles. I’ve searched for but not found copies of the fourteen “True Life Stories.” It’s possible that all or some of these titles were not published.

The rear jacket flap advertises the Sampson Low Rupert Little Bear Stories, issued in 50+ volumes for 6d. per volume.

The paper cover and spine of the book replicate the jacket minus the price.

The rear cover of the book replicates the back of the jacket.

Below find a scan of the jacket for Jeffery Farnol, The Honourable Mr. Tawnish, published as #35 in the series in 1939. This jacket includes all 49 (announced, published) titles in the series.

A series list, updated with a few corrections from Vintage Paperback Books. Romance writer Jeffery Farnol dominates the list of titles, and the series likely contains only reprints of Sampson Low publications.

1938 titles:
1. Jeffery Farnol: Our Admirable Betty
2. Jeffery Farnol: The Definite Object
3. L.A. Knight: The Creeping Death
4. Faith Baldwin: Week-End Marriage
*5. Augustus C. Collodon: Congo Jake
*6. F.A. Waterhouse: ‘Twixt Hell And Allah
*7. Amir Habibullah: From Brigand To King
*8. Ex-Légionnaire 1384: Legion Of The Lost
9. Jeffery Farnol: Black Bartlemy’s Treasure
10. Jeffery Farnol: Martin Conisby’s Vengeance
11. Donn Byrne: Destiny Bay
*12. A. J. Querle: “Allah Il Allah”
*13. Rustam Khan-Urf: I Was A Slave
14. Jeffery Farnol: Sir John Dering
15. Jeffery Farnol: The Loring Mystery
16. Sinclair Murray: The Obstinate Virgin
*17. J.M. Armstrong: Legion Of Hell
*18. James Milligan: I Didn’t Stay Honest
19. Jeffery Farnol: Chronicles Of the Imp
20. Faith Baldwin: Self-Made Woman
21. Galen C. Colin: Storm King Rides
*22. F.A. Waterhouse: Five Sous A Day
*23. Dare Dubois Phillips: Wanderlust
24. Jeffery Farnol: Quest Of Youth
25. Donn Byrne: Brother Saul
26. F.A. Waterhouse: Oasis
*27. Hector Lindsay: Jungle Lindsay
*28. Chris Massie: Confessions of a Vagabond
29. Jeffery Farnol: High Adventure
30. Faith Baldwin: Alimony
31. Birdsall Briscoe: West Of The Rio Grande
*32. Reginald R. Forbes: Red Horizon
*33. Bob Dyker: Get Your Man

* possibly not published (all “True Life Stories”)

1939 titles:

34. Jeffery Farnol: The Broad Highway
35. Jeffery Farnol: Honourable Mr. Tawnish
36. Jeffery Farnol: Another Day
37. Jeffery Farnol: Over The Hills
38. Jeffery Farnol: The Amateur Gentleman
39. Jeffery Farnol: The Jade Of Destiny
40. Jeffery Farnol: Charmian Lady Vibart
41. Jeffery Farnol: Beltane The Smith
42. Jeffery Farnol: The Way Beyond
43. Jeffery Farnol: Winds Of Fortune
44. Jeffery Farnol: Peregrine’s Progress
45. Jeffery Farnol: Geste of Duke Jocelyn
46. Jeffery Farnol: John O’ The Green
47. Jeffery Farnol: The Money Moon
48. Jeffery Farnol: Gyfford Of Weare
49. Jeffery Farnol: Pageant Of Victory

The half-title page:

The reverse of the half-title page is blank.