3 December 2007
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
COOPER, James Fenimore. The Water-Witch or The Skimmer of the Seas. Dresden: Walther, 1830.
3 volumes, 12o (174 x 110 mm). Half-titles, colophon at the end of volume 3. (Some spotting.) Contemporary buff paper boards, small printed pink paper label on the spines, uncut (covers lightly rubbed, a few tiny stains).
FIRST EDITION IN CONTEMPORARY BOARDS. One of only a handful of copies, possibly 8, published in this edition preceding publication in both London and Philadelphia. The first edition of The Water-Witch was printed by C. C. Meinhold and Sons in Dresden for the German bookseller who styled himself Walthersche Hofbuchhandlung and then distributed to Cooper's translators and other publishers. A draft of Cooper's agreement with Walther exists (Dartmouth College Library), dated 26 May 1830, although only signed by Cooper: "The said J. Fenimore Cooper is to receive eight copies of each sheet as it is printed, with the right to send the said sheets to his correspondents or Publishers in those Countries where he may have arrangements to that effect, and he is to receive two complete copies of the work when finished." EXCEPTIONALLY RARE: According to American Book Prices Current only four other copies of this edition have appeared at auction since 1975. Of those only the Katharine B. Parsons collection sold at Sotheby's, 6 October 1976, lot 54 has included a copy described as "in original boards"; a copy in orange gilt boards was sold (Sotheby's 10 July 2001, lot 65); and Pacific Book Auctions (3 November 2005, lot 189) sold a copy in contemporary half cloth, with "traces of pink wraps on the half-titles". BAL 3845; Beard I pp. 415-416; Spiller and Blackburn 12 p. 64-65.
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