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    Arthur Conan Doyle. The Sign of the Four. Or, the problem of the Sholtos. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., [1889]. First appearance in print, second issue. [Philadelphia:] Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, 45, no. 266, February 1890, pages [145]-223. Octavo. 308, viii [With the Wits], [28] advertisements pages (dated "February, 1890"); lacking first 24 advertisement pages at rear. The Sign of the Four illustrated with frontispiece by H. D. Printed paper wrappers. Moderate edgewear, edges chipped with some small losses, toned and somewhat soiled, joints starting, chipping to foot of spine with some losses, approximately 1 x 0.5 inch repaired closed tear and small dampstain to upper wrapper. Internally generally clean, edges untrimmed; some pages unopened, minor intermittent foxing, text block edges somewhat worn with minor chipping, gutter overextended at page viii, a few ads at rear loose but laid in. Housed in custom beige linen clamshell case with cream paper spine label printed in black. Very good or better.

    The printing history of this second Sherlock Holmes story is bibliographically complex. The first appearance in print of this story was indeed in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, published simultaneously in Philadelphia and London. The English edition was titled simply, "The Sign of the Four," published in the London edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, 45, no. 266, February 1890, pages 145-223. Gibson and Green note, "in the American issue of the magazine the frontispiece faces a special title-page and is therefore considered by some to constitute the first edition." The first issue contains ads dated "January 1890" and the subsequent issue, as here, has ads dated "February 1890." The first English edition in book form was published in October, 1890 and the first American edition in book form was published in March, 1890.

    This appearance in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, in the original wrappers, is exceedingly uncommon at auction.

    De Waal 271; Gibson and Green A7i.

    More Information: "Conan Doyle provides a vivid record of a dinner that brought him for the first time in [Oscar] Wilde's company on 30 August [1889]... [Doyle's] reputation seemed to be on the rise when [Lippincott managing editor Joseph M.] Stoddart asked him for his company at supper... his companions were the Irish MP Charles Gill and Oscar Wilde... '[T]he result of the evening," [Doyle recalled in Memories and Adventures], 'was that both Wilde and I promised to write books for Lippincott's Magazine--Wilde's contribution was 'The Picture of Dorian Grey' [sic], while I wrote 'The Sign of Four', in which Holmes made a second appearance.'" (Ian Small, Introduction to The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, Oxford: [2005]. p. xxxii).

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2021
    9th-10th Wednesday-Thursday
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