Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2012 Issue

Charles Dickens from Maggs Bros. Ltd.

Maggs1452

Charles Dickens from Maggs Bros.

There are few, if any, authors more collectible than Charles Dickens. Perhaps Shakespeare, but none of his works were published during his lifetime, and little beyond the three folios within a century thereof. Dickens published many works, and both their popularity and complexity make him an ideal author to collect. He has never gone out of style, nor out of print, and there are few communities around where you won't be able to catch, at a minimum, a performance of his Christmas Carol before the year is out.

Dickens was noted for characters who were larger than life, partly exaggeration of their attributes yet filled with realism as well. His situations could be exciting, or tense, or ones that left you wondering what would come next. He could also add a certain amount of comedy to serious subjects. However, what is most notable about Dickens' writing is his humanity. His stories are filled with moral lessons, primarily the need to improve the conditions of the poor and downtrodden. There were many of those in Dickens' era, 19th century England, and their conditions were deplorable. Dickens experienced poverty for a time during his youth, and he never forgot the horror, or the unfairness of it. Others might be willing to look the other way, but Dickens was determined to make them see the injustice. It is his humanity that permeates his novels, and though set in a very different time, this is what enables them to retain their appeal today. Settings change, but human values do not.

There is a complexity to collecting Dickens that adds to the challenge. For most authors, you just look for the first editions. It is not so easy with Dickens. He published many of his works in serialization before printing the first complete, bound edition. Compiling the parts has never been easy. Fortunately, there were people who bound together his installments back in the 19th century once they were complete, but this would be the exception. Coming by true “firsts” for Dickens is more complicated than for most authors.

Maggs Bros. Recently published their Catalogue 1452, entitled Charles Dickens. It was formed from the collection of the late John Davies of San Diego. It contains 83 items, all but a handful published in Dickens' lifetime. Maggs has done an excellent job of describing the works, and how they fit in to the complex web that is collecting Dickens. There are a certain number of “issue points” with which to deal for any author, but they are particularly pronounced with a serial publisher such as Dickens. Slight variations, or the ever present differences in advertising pages, add to the challenge of collecting the author. This may seem obscure to those on the outside, but the serious Dickens collector will understand the nuances of issue points that accompany the field. The serious Dickens collector will appreciate this catalogue. Here are a few of the classics offered.

Early in his career, while Dickens was serializing his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, he still found time to publish this hard to find pamphlet: Sunday Under Three Heads. As it is; as Sabbath bills would make it; as it might be made. It reflects the views that would dominate his writing the remainder of his life. Dickens looks at how the Sabbath is celebrated as another example of injustice to the poor. The wealthy go to their churches in their carriages for leisurely, late morning services. The poor are harangued in cramped pews, their one day off of work turned into another joyless day. Under the second head, these people now faced laws to further restrict recreational activities on the Sabbath, assuring it be a day of “universal gloom, bigotry, and persecution.” To Dickens, it should instead be made a day of joy and rest. Item 3, published in 1836. Priced at £1,000 (British pounds, or about $1,583 U.S. dollars).

Dickens' feelings about the Sabbath would be reflected a few years later on the subject of Christmas in what became one of Dickens' favorite stories: A Christmas Carol. As with the Sabbath, he thought Christmas should be a happy time, not one of dour piety. He created perhaps his most famous character in Ebenezer Scrooge, whose greed and selfishness are the epitome of how the wealthy mistreat the poor. Of course, this story has a happy ending, as Scrooge learns how to experience joy from the poor. Were it only so easy! One of these next two items is the first American edition of this Christmas classic, but it is not certain which was released slightly before the other. Item 26 is the Harper & Brothers 1844 edition, a simpler, unillustrated edition that probably reached the press first. £2,000 (US $3,166). Item 27 is the more elaborate Carey & Hart edition, also published in 1844. £5,000 (US $7,917).

Item 66 is one of Dickens' later works, and as Maggs explains, “Great Expectations in original cloth is one of the hardest challenges for the Dickens collector.” Maggs notes that most of the first editions were sent to lending libraries where heavy use required they be rebound. £60,000 (US $95,057).

Maggs Bros. Ltd. may be reached at +44 (0)20 7493 7160 or ben@maggs.com. Their website is www.maggs.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800

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