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    Christmas Stocking Library. Boston: L. Prang & Co., [1865]. Complete set of six Christmas juvenile books housed in the delicate original publisher's box. Titles include A Visit from St. Nicholas, The Story of Hans the Swapper, Dame Duck's Lecture, Who Stole the Bird's Nest, In the Forest, and A Farm Yard Story. Six volumes, complete set. Small twelvemo (each leaf measures 4.125 x 2.5 inches; 104 x 64 mm). Each volume with twelve chromo-lithographic illustrations bound in folded accordion style, including titles for A Visit from St. Nicholas and The Story of Hans the Swapper. Minor wear and staining to printed wrappers, minor foxing to chromolithographs. Housed in the publisher's original paper-covered box with hinged lid, decorative lithographed title label on the top, and a second lithographed label inside the lid with title and list of books plus two color-pictorial vignettes. Box a bit rubbed and worn, hinge starting but holding, paper under hinge tearing from board causing the lid to droop just a bit, minor scattered staining. Colors bright and chromo-lithographs particularly charming. A very good, rare complete, set of this Christmas themed ephemeral juvenile printing.

    Our idea of Christmas is a nineteenth century creation. The first commercial Christmas card was issued only in 1843. This Christmas gift box is one of the earliest efforts by a publisher to exploit this new market.

    The first toy book here is a delightful version of Clement Moore's Christmas poem "The Night Before Christmas" (here issued anonymously, under its original title), designed as a leporello. It is copyrighted 1864 - the other five volumes comprise Hans the Sweeper (#2), Dame Duck's Lecture (#3), Who Stole the Bird's Nest (#4), In the Forest (#5), and A Farm Yard Story (#6), all copyrighted 1865.

    Marshall, The Night Before Christmas: A Descriptive Bibliography, #59 (mis-describing the set as having five volumes). Not in Jock Elliott's Grolier exhibition.

    Justin Schiller has located only three other boxed sets (AAS, Huntington Library, and Smith College).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    16th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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