Signet Books first appeared in 1948 after breaking with Penguin, so that for a short period of time, their books were published as Penguin-Signet. They were the premier reprint house with authors like William Faulkner, James Farrell, Erskine Caldwell and, of course, Mickey Spillane, who put Signet on the map. The cover artist most associated with Signet is James Avati whose dark, murky, realistic covers set the standard for many years. The cover on the left was done by Robert Maguire whose work was brighter and who was known for his beautiful women. Click HERE to see how Avati paints a similar subject.
With some notable exceptions, Signets are not very popular with collectors. While it is acknowledged that Avati was a fine artist, and there are Avati collectors, most people prefer brighter and sexier covers. Because Signet published and re-printed better literature and fiction, many were reprinted countless times. Some of the exceptions are first printings of the Mickey Spillane books; a couple of Jim Thompsons; and a few odd titles by Chester Himes, Kerouac, McCoy and so on.
Back to STORE or the SIGNET books for sale section.