Arthur Conan Doyle First Editions
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a British novelist best known for the creation of fictional detective hero Sherlock Holmes, who alongside his companion Dr Watson enjoyed numerous adventures recounted across multiple books and serialisations.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was however also the author of numerous other, mostly lesser known literary works, which can often be rare and highly sought after in first edition.
Born in Edinburgh, his mother Mary was a master storyteller being able to “sink her voice to a horror-stricken whisper when she reached the culminating point of a vivid story”, something that he managed to convey beautifully in print, perhaps aided by his own interest in occult and spiritualism.
Conan Doyle created Holmes to supplement his income from his unsuccessful medical practice. He based the character upon his old Professor at medical school, who was able to observe in minute detail a patient’s condition; translated to Holmes this became a forensic proficiency in observation, scientific process, logical & empirical reasoning that bordered on the preternatural. Holmes quickly made Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famous and he penned 56 short stories and 4 novels about the private detective that gained in popularity after originally appearing in the Strand Magazine
Highly Collectable Sherlock Holmes Books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- A Study in Scarlet (1887)
- The Sign of the Four (1890)
- The Adventures/Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1892-94, 2 volumes)
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
- The Valley of Fear (1914–1915)
Conan Doyle’s attempt to exterminate Holmes once and for all in the The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes proved unsuccessful due to the character’s growing popularity, and the author was forced to resurrect him for several more volumes.
Collecting Works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s historical novels can also be highly collectable. The White Company (1891, originally published in three volumes) tells the story of a company of Saxon Bowmen in the 14th century French/English wars. The 18 short stories and one novel written by Doyle recounting the adventures , a French hussar named Brigadier Gerard of Napoleon’s army, written between 1894-1910. Conan Doyle is also remembered fondly by many for the character Professor Challenger, a bushy-bearded adventurer who featured in 3 novels, most famously the Vernian Sci-Fi classic The Lost World (1912), recounting an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin where prehistoric animals and other extinct creatures still roamed.
Buy First Editions in-store by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
First editions; 2 vols, large 8vo; first title in first issue state with blank street sign to vignette of upper board, all edges gilt, both volumes illustrated throughout by Sidney Paget; publisher's light blue and dark blue cloth gilt respectively, spines very lightly rolled, gilt to spines a little rubbed but a distinctly superior set of the definitional volumes of Holmseian short stories.£12,500
First edition, first impression; 8vo; frontispiece and 7 plates, tissue guard at frontispiece; publisher's dark blue cloth titles to upper board in white, device to upper board and titles to spine gilt. Minor repair to gutter of the frontispiece, a little shaken, one plate reinserted. A decent copy nonetheless.£750
First edition, first impression; 8vo; black-and-white illustrations by Sidney Paget, including frontispiece, scattered light foxing, otherwise unmarked internally, patterned endpapers; publisher's blue cloth, gilt and black text to upper board and spine, Strand Library device on upper board, all edges gilt, extremities rubbed, hinges cracked but holding, overall a very good copy; 279pp.£2,250
First edition, first impression; 8vo; publisher's boards, dust-jacket, a mint copy.£35
Special facsimile edition, number 258 of 500 copies, small 8vo, 169, [blank]pp., + 15pp advertisements (as originally published), 'perfect' bound in white card with facsimile of original cover design, red card dust-jacket gilt, a fine copy.£95
First edition, number 98 of 165 copies, 8vo, illustrations by Elspeth Sojka, original marbled wrappers, printed label to spine, a fine copy.£185