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    First Edition of a Dickens Favorite, Complete with Extra Lett's Ads

    Charles Dickens. The Personal History of David Copperfield. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1850.

    First edition, in the original twenty numbers bound in nineteen monthly parts (May 1849-November 1850). Octavo (8.875 x 5.625 inches; 225 x 144 mm.). xiv, [1, "Errata"], [1, blank], 624 pages. Forty inserted plates, including frontispiece and added vignette title, after etchings by H. K. Browne ("Phiz").
    In the correct original blue-green wrappers printed in black with a design by "Phiz" on the outside front wrapper and advertisements on the inside front and inside and outside back wrappers.

    Complete with the "Copperfield Advertiser" and with all inserted advertisements and slips called for by Hatton and Cleaver, including the scarce "Lett's Diaries" foldout ad at the back of Part VIII, "more often than not a missing quantity" (Hatton and Cleaver, page 254), with eight specimen diary leaves (including one double-page and one folding) and one calendar leaf ("1849 / Thursday / 15 / MARCH").

    This set has the following variations: The "Advertiser" in Part VIII is first issue, with the misspelling "Lile" for "Life" ("Life of Goldsmith") on page 3. In Part VIII, the "New Weekly Illustrated Periodical for Ladies" ad at front is a variant unrecorded by Hatton and Cleaver, consisting of four pages instead of two, with "New Illustrated Work by John Leech" and "Punch's Almanack for 1850" on page 3. In Part XII, "The Working Man's Library" ad at back is the alternate 2A, consisting of four pages only instead of eight. In Part XVII, the "Waterlows' Patent Portable Copying Apparatus" ad at back is on pink paper. In Part XVIII, the "Waterlow & Sons" ad is the alternative, consisting of two pages only, on yellow paper, and the "Eliza Cook's Journal" ad is on pink paper. In Parts XIX/XX, the "Waterlow & Sons" ad at back is the alternate ad, the same as in Part VI, and pages 1/2 and 3/4 are partially unopened at the top edge.

    Wrappers show typical wear and tiredness at edges, with some numbers rebacked and some ink signatures. Part VI with a small paper repair to the upper blank corner of the front wrapper, and a small bookseller's label apparently removed from the lower front wrapper. The back wrapper of Part XIII is stained; the front wrapper of Part XII is stained, with the staining visible on the first three leaves of the "Copperfield Advertiser." Tiny piece torn from the upper blank corner of the front wrapper of Part XIV. Part XVI has a soft vertical crease throughout. Early ink signature of "B. Dodsworth Esq" at the head of the front wrapper of Part X; embossed stamp of "T. Harrison / Bookseller / 55. Brigame / Leeds" at the head of the front wrapper of Part XI. The text is generally clean throughout. Plates generally very good, with slight offsetting and marginal foxing and browning to some. Bookplate attached to reverse of first plate in Part XIX/XX. A very good, complete set. Housed in a marbled board slipcase within a half dark green morocco over marbled board book-backed slipcase with the spine decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt.

    David Copperfield is scarce in parts. As Eckel noted in 1932, the printing was comparatively small, the parts were "much read and roughly handled," and "fine, clean and unrepaired copies" were "difficult to procure."

    David Copperfield contains the second published example of a "dark" plate, No. 31, "The River," in Part XVI. The first "dark plate was published in Dombey and Son (1848). The forty designs were etched in duplicate. From the Victor Gulotta Collection.

    Eckel, pages 77-78. Gimbel A121. Hatton and Cleaver, pages 253-272. Sadleir 686. Smith, Dickens, I, 9.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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