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Miscellaneous Jottings

This page is intended to be a home for snippets of interesting information about the Guinness Book of Records that, quite frankly, we don't know where else to put. Please send us any more miscellany that you may have.

[Where an opinion is expressed, it is based on our "reading between the lines" of the books in our collection.]

  • The first copy of the book was bound on a Saturday.

  • Compared to the average wage at the time each edition was published, this year's new edition will probably be the least expensive edition ever (especially with the competitive nature of online booksellers and chains). The previous most affordable edition was probably the 11th edition in 1964.

  • The Christmas 1960 edition of the Guinness Time staff magazine reports that, "... a lorry full of the Guinness Book of Records has been stolen from a fleet of lorries containing the book. Someone was obviously trying to break another record."

  • The 18th edition was the last to be printed by Redwood Press using offset lithography. Subsequent editions were printed using their new KBA Compacta web offset press. [Thanks to Graham Andrew for mentioning this]

  • Some of the editions - 19th (1972) to 30th (1983) - printed by Redwood Press have up to 6 dots (or small squares) near the printer's information. We originally believed these to be print-run marks, followed by a theory that they are bindery marks (with the number of dots indicating which company bound that particular copy). However, discussions with one of the founders of Redwood Press did not shed any new light on the matter.

We were recently contacted by a former employee of Redwood Press but, unfortunately, he couldn't explain the dots. However, he did say, "It was usual to stop during the printing of the first (front) section to undertake plate changes for the various editions (usually the various English language versions), and whether the dots had some significance to someone at some point is still a possibility". He also sent us a couple of interesting photos - the first is the sheet of the 1981 GBR cover (Australian Version), which was "considered challenging as it is a four colour press pass followed by a second pass for the three spot colours (yellow, red and blue as identified by the colour bars at the top of the sheet)".

The second photo shows the Koenig & Bauer Compacta press that text sections were printed on between roughly 1972 and 1983, "The press was actually a bit of a prototype. K&B developed the press from a newspaper press, and were looking to produce a machine for the heatset web offset market (magazines and books etc) and as I understand, Redwood were also keen to evolve their market from beyond monotone sheetfed bookwork to this field also. It was a bit of a transitional time when a lot of publications were transferring from the outdated letterpress process to the newer lithography and this press was a bit of a forerunner".

"The press would have speeded up the production of the book significantly. Beyond the addition of full colour - the press could output 1 x 16pp full colour sections or 16pp colour + 16pp mono (32pp in one pass) - it also produced the sections folded straight off the press. A process that had to be carried out separately before binding when printed as flat sheets".


  • The 19th edition shows that the brothers had a sense of humour: "... we do not opine on ... the most formidable mother-in-law, only the woman with the greatest girth or the organ (or indeed the mother-in-law) generating the most decibels".

  • The 21st Edition from 1974 was produced using the "perfect binding" technique. Unfortunately, many copies proved that it wasn't.

  • The hands in the third picture on page 166 of the 23rd Edition are those of Jacqui Gould.

  • On 24th October 1979, Guinness Superlatives honoured Paul McCartney with a dinner held at Les Ambassadeurs Club in London. McCartney subsequently appeared on the cover of the 27th Edition.

  • The brothers were obsessed by detail and accuracy, which seemed on occasion to lead to a need to fiddle unnecessarily with chapter titles and order.

  • The ISBNs given in the 21st U.S. Edition are incorrect - they are the ISBNs for the 20th Edition.

  • The Facts on File Guinness Book of Records 1992 is the 30th U.S. Edition, but the Guinness Book of Records 1993 is the 32nd U.S. Edition. Anyone know where the 31st U.S. Edition went?

  • The book inset at the top of page 4 of the 2021 edition is not the 1964 edition as stated.

  • The production cover artwork for the 2021 edition is subtly different when compared to the pre-production version. The winner of the prize draw is shown on the giant whoopee cushion, and Captain Sir Tom Moore has been added. There are other changes - can you spot them?