Matt or laminated?

Is the cover matt or laminated/shiny?

If it is laminated, it dates from post 1983.

If you have a book with matt covers, you know it dates from between 1965 and 1983. To find out more, look at the back. There may be 3 clues to help you.

If the book originally cost 2/6 (pre-decimal money) the price may not be on the back boards but inside, opposite the title page. Otherwise it will be on the back cover, towards the bottom. A matt book priced 2/6 would have been issued between 1965 and 1970.

The next 'clue' is the 'tally number'. Books issued between 1963 and 1974 had a sentence on the back which said 'There are now over xxx Ladybird titles'. According to how many titles are mentioned on the back of the book we can date its issue.
A tally number of
120-140 would be from 1965

  • 150-170 from 1966
  • 190-200 from 1967
  • 210-225 from 1968
  • 230-260 from 1969
  • 270-280 from 1970
  • 290 1971
  • 300 1972
  • 320-340 from 1973
  • 350-370 from 1974

    The final clue is the titles listed in the same series on the back cover. Unless your book happened to be the last title issued in the series, you can work out how old your book is by seeing which titles had been issued up to that point.

    For example, my edition of 'A Ladybird Book about Knitting' (series 633) lists 10 titles on the back cover. The last title listed is 'Learning to Sew' which I know was first issued in 1972. So I guess that my book dates from shortly after then. I know that 'Learning to Ride' was issued in this series in 1973 but my book doesn't mention it. So my book dates from 1972-1973.
    If you need a list of publication dates, you can use my list in the 'Bookshop' on the home page, which is pretty comprehensive. Alternatively you can check out Nicole's amazing listing of ladybirds on

    which includes very modern books and foreign language titles.