First Printing of Dickens' Christmas Classic from His Own LibraryCharles Dickens. A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. With Illustrations by John Leech. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843.
First edition, first issue, with the text uncorrected, "Stave I" as the first chapter heading, red and blue title page dated 1843, blue half-title, and green endpapers. Small octavo. , 166, [2, advertisements] pages. Four hand-colored steel-engraved plates (frontispiece and plates facing pages 25, 78, and 150) by and after John Leech, and four wood-engraved text illustrations (on pages 37, 73, 119, and 164) by W. J. Linton after John Leech.
Publisher's vertically-ribbed cinnamon cloth. Covers decoratively stamped in blind with a single-line border enclosing a decorative border of holly and ivy; front cover decoratively lettered in gilt within a gilt wreath of holly leaves. Spine decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt. All edges gilt. Original green coated endpapers. The binding matches Todd's first impression, second issue, first state, with the closest interval between the blindstamping left border and the left extremity of the gilt wreath measuring 13 mm. and with the upper serif of the "D" in "Dickens" within the wreath unbroken. Housed in a brown cloth chemise and quarter dark red morocco slipcase with marbled boards and gilt spine titles on black and green leather title labels.
Moderate edge wear. Light spotting to covers. Hinges repaired at a much earlier period. Spine rebacked with most of the original cloth laid down, save small portions of the spine ends. Spine somewhat darkened and slightly shelf-cocked. A couple of tiny tears to the gilt on the spine. Front hinge starting; rear hinge cracked. Minor occasional spotting, heaviest around the inner plates. Overall, a very good copy of a rare first printing of Dickens' Christmas classic.
First printing copies of A Christmas Carol are quite rare, and highly-prized by Dickens collectors. Rarer still are copies like this one, from Dickens' own library, evidenced by the presence of Dickens' bookplate and the Gadshill Library bookplate, both of which are affixed to the front pastedown. The Gadshill Library plate reads "From the Library of CHARLES DICKENS, Gadshill Place, June, 1870" and was most assuredly sold in the 1870 auction of Dickens' library.
Bookplate of W. W. Corcoran affixed to the rear pastedown. William Wilson Corcoran (1798-1888) was an American banker, philanthropist, and art collector who founded the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D. C., which he created to house his private art collection and "for the purpose of encouraging American Genius."
Eckel, pp. 110-115. Gimbel A79. Smith II, 4.
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