DICKENS, Charles. A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. London: Printed and Published for the Author by Bradbury and Evans, 1846.
8o (165 x 102 mm). 2-page publisher's advertisements at end. Hand-colored etched frontispiece and three plates by John Leech, four wood-engravings in the text by W.J. Linton after Leech (lightly browned, one or two minute spots). Half-title printed in blue, title-page printed in red and blue, verso printed in blue. (Lightly browned, some offsetting of plates onto text.) Original red fine-ribbed cloth, covers with decorative blind border surrounding central gilt cartouche and lettering (top seraph of "D" of Dickens lacking) on upper, spine gilt, all edges gilt, cream endpapers (extremities just touched, one or two minute blemishes); quarter green morocco gilt slipcase. Provenance: Josef Valckenberg, wine-merchant (presentation inscription from the author); Wilhelm Valckenberg (inscription dated April 1864); Comte Alain de Suzannet (bookplates; his sale Sotheby's London, 22 November 1971, lot 80); Kenyon Starling (bookplate).
"ALL I HAVE TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT OF THE LIEBFRAUMILCH, IS, THAT IF IT SHOULD COME HERE, I WILL DRINK IN IT, THE HEALTH OF EVERYBODY, GREAT AND SMALL, IN THAT LARGE FAMILY-HOUSE AT WORMS" (Dickens, Letter to Valckenberg, 25 June, 1846)
"Eleventh edition", first Bradbury and Evans issue. PRESENTATION COPY inscribed by Dickens to Joseph Valckenberg on the half-title: "Joseph Valckenberg from his friend Charles Dickens Twenty First January 1847". The House of Valckenberg was established in Worms in 1786 and exported wines throughout Europe during the 19th-century; supplying amongst others the Swedish Royal family, the Duke of Norfolk, and Dickens after a fortuitous meeting between the Valckenberg and Dickens families aboard a steamboat traveling down the Rhine in 1846: "The sunny Rhine journey by river steamboat was picturesque but uneventful. At Mainz there came aboard a German wine merchant, one Josef Valckenberg, a native of Worms, who spoke to Kate. 'Your countryman Mr. Dickens is traveling this way just now, your papers say. Do you know him, or have you passed him anywhere?' Introductions took place, and Dickens apologized for his ignorance of German. 'Oh dear! That needn't trouble you,' Herr Valckenberg replied; even in so small a town as Worms there were at least forty who spoke English and many more who read Dickens's works in the original" (Johnson).
RARE. Having quarreled with Chapman and Hall over dwindling financial returns Dickens had Bradbury and Evans publish separate issues of the "Eleventh" and "Twelfth" editions (so described on their respective title-pages, but more accurately later impressions of the first edition) with their imprint. Johnson Charles Dickens. His Tragedy and Triumph; Yale/Gimbel A79 (p. 82). A FINE AND BRIGHT COPY.