First Edition of the Second Sherlock Holmes Book with an Autograph Note Signed by DoyleArthur Conan Doyle. The Sign of the Four; or, the Problem of the Sholtos. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, [February 1890].
First edition, printed in Lippincott's Magazine Series [No. 266]. Octavo (9 x 5.825 inches; 228 x 149 mm.). [2, title], 147-308 pages (The Sign of the Four concluding on page 223). With engraved frontispiece, 52 pages of ads at front and back, and the eight-page "With the Wits" supplement interspersed.
Original wrappers, with front wrapper lacking. First leaf loose. Spine chipped, with some loss at head and foot. A few instances of light spotting, and dampstaining to top margins of especially the last third of the text block. Overall, a good copy of this exceedingly rare edition. Housed in a folding box of gilt brown leatherette, lined with red paper, with gilt side title and the printed paper bookplate of renowned book collector H. Bradley Martin.
A venerable copy of this scarce edition of the second Sherlock Holmes novel, famously commissioned by Lippincott's managing editor Joseph M. Stoddart at a dinner also attended by Oscar Wilde (who would come to contribute The Picture of Dorian Gray to the July 1890 issue of the magazine). Once part of the library of H. Bradley Martin, and appropriately housed in a custom folding box, this copy also comes with an autograph note signed by Doyle, written on Reform Club stationery: "Dear Sir[:] Many thanks for your very kind invitation. I regret extremely that I will be unable to come. Yours faithfully[,] A Conan Doyle."
Green and Gibson 7A.i.
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