Have you ever noticed how there seems to be LOADS of signed copies of the W. E. Johns book “The Passing Show”?

It appears harder to find an unsigned one, than it is to find a signed one!  I think I have discovered the reason for this.


The book “The Passing Show” is dated as being published in September 1937.

A brief reference is made to the book in the September 1937 issue of “My Garden” as being available from 1st October and more details are given in the October 1937 issue.

Here are the relevant pages from that October issue:-






Note the highlighted text.

“I have induced Capt. Johns, at the risk of developing chronic writer’s cramp, to sign all copies of this book order through this office before December 15th.

So it would appear that all copies from September/October to mid-December 1937 were signed!

And you can bet that was the bulk of sales as people bought the book as Christmas presents!



Below are some examples of the different Johns signatures that can be found on copies of “The Passing Show”.

Notice how the signatures differ slightly, with the position on the book page and the length of the line that Johns has drawn underneath.







On the examples below, the “J” in Johns has a little loop.  This is how Johns signed his name in the mid to late 1930s.

On the left we have a signature on a copy of “The Passing Show” presumably signed around October to December 1937.

On the right we have a signed first edition of “The Black Peril” published in March 1935.  Johns used to loop the “J” in his name far more in the mid-1930s.