• The William E. Self Library, I auction at Christies

    Sale 2153

    The William E. Self Library, Important English and American Literature

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 68

    DICKENS, Charles. A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. London: Chapman & Hall, 1844 [but 1843].

    Price Realised  

    DICKENS, Charles. A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. London: Chapman & Hall, 1844 [but 1843].

    8o (164 x 102 mm). 2-page publisher's advertisement at end. Hand-colored etched frontispiece and three plates by John Leech, four wood-engravings in the text by W.J. Linton after Leech. Half-title PRINTED IN GREEN, TITLE-PAGE PRINTED IN RED AND GREEN, verso printed in green. (Some occasional pale spotting.) Original brown fine-ribbed cloth, covers with decorative blind border surrounding central gilt cartouche and lettering on upper, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, all edges gilt, yellow endpapers (pale stain on front cover, light wear at ends of spine, repaired tear on rear free endpaper; cloth folding case. Provenance: Laura Churchyard (signature dated 1893 on front free endpaper); Henry S. Morgan (pencil note: "Lent by Mr. Henry S. Morgan Sept. 1991"); Pierpont Morgan Library (duplicate on note front free endpaper).

    PROOF COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, first impression, with the green and red title-page dated 1844, "Stave I" as the first chapter heading, balance of text uncorrected, yellow endpapers, with the first state of the binding (the closest interval between blind decorative border on the left and the left extremity of the gilt cartouche measuring 14 mm and the "D" of Dickens perfect). Eckel notes: "The proof copies, which were still in their experimental stage, had the Title-page printed in Red and Green, dated 1844, with 'Atave I' as the chapter heading, and with the half-title printed in green. Both green and yellow end-papers were tried" (Edckel, p.111). Dickens cancelled the green and red title-page in favor of the red and blue, with the half-title printed in blue. He also rejected the publisher's standard practice of dating a book for the coming year, and had it dated for 1843. Philo Calhoun and Howell J. Heaney, "Dickens' Christmas Carol After a Hundred Years: A Study in Bibliographical Evidence," in: Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 39 (Fourth Quarter, 1945); Eckel, p. 110; Kitton, pp. 33-37; Smith II:4. VERY RARE TRIAL ISSUE.


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