Charles Dickens first editions
Collecting Charles Dickens'(1812-1870) first editions is done with an intense passion by many collectors who consider him to be the UK's greatest novelist.
It could be that no other English writer has created a world of characters so distinctively cruel or suffering, comic or repugnant as Dickens has; no other writer has written so convincingly of the wrongs inflicted on children by adults in the 19th century. He used his own first-hand experiences from his childhood to help portray these wrongs. His father was frequently thrown into a debtors' prison, and Dickens was sent to work in a blacking factory at the age of twelve. Most bitter for him was his parents' failure to educate him. He reacted to this indifference by working hard throughout his entire life explains the prolific amount of books that he wrote.
Collecting Charles Dickens's first editions is not without its challenges! Dickens in the original parts often has all sorts of issue points, as well as preferred collations for the original accompanying advertisements. Charles Dickens's first editions in original cloth see the value wobble remarkably depending on condition, but again issue points, sometimes incredibly pedantic (for example millimetre differences in the upper cover design on Dickens' Christmas Carol), provide a crucial distinction for collectors. Signed Charles Dickens first editions are another league again, with important association copies of key titles worth multiple tens of thousands of pounds.
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First edition, bound from the original parts, two volumes bound as one, 8vo., [a]4, b2, B-X8; [vii], viii-xii, 320; engraved title and 20 plates; Vol. II. [A]3, B-U8, X4; [iii-v], vi-viii, 310, ; 20 plates; both half-titles present, even age-toning, occasional spotting to some plate margins, otherwise very good indeed; 20th century half navy blue calf over cloth gilt, one set of the original part wrappers bound in, the upper wrapper dated September 1865, top edge gilt, in fine condition.£950
First edition, very early issue, bound up from the original monthly parts, with all but 5 of Smith's 'internal flaws', with 40 engraved plates by Browne; Demy 8vo (225 x 145 mm); with the eight-line errata and the vignette title bearing the imprint of Bradbury & Evans (later handed to Chapman & Hall), includes the first example of the 'dark plate' process, facing page 547, lacking half-title, the odd, random spot otherwise fine; twentieth-century full red morocco, gilt panelled, gilt stamped medallion poertait of Dickens to centre of upper cover, his signature blocked in gilt on the lower one, gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers and all edges gilt, spine a little faded, otherwise an excellent copy;£1,000
30 volumes (complete); 8vo; illustrated frontispiece to each vol., further numerous engravings by George Cruikshank, Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne), Sir Edwin Landseer, [George] Cattermole, Marcus Stone, John Tenniel and others, including reproductions of the original frontispiece and illustrated title-pages to many, a little bit of very random spotting, otherwise near fine; later 20th century half calf gilt by Sotheran's, top edge gilt, the odd bit of rubbing and minimal toning to spines, otherwise an excellent set.£6,500
First edition in book form, first issue (with signature BB2 misprinted as 'B2' at page 371; 'William' instead of 'Frederick' on page 317, line 27; and the name 'Rigaud' appears instead of 'Blandois' on pages 469, 470, 472, and 473; several errors noted in three-line errata on page xiv); 8vo; 40 plates from etchings by Hablot K. Browne ('Phiz'), including the 8 'dark plates' and the additional title-page and frontispiece, some mild toning and occasional foxing; modern full blue morocco, lettered and ruled in gilt with corner ornaments, raised bands, marbled endpapers, dentelles, all edges gilt, a little minor rubbing, otherwise a very good copy.£1,500
First edition in book form, first issue (with 'visiter' for 'sister' on p. 123 and 'latter' for 'letter', 'flys' for 'flies' on p. 245, and 'visiters' for 'visitors' on p. 272); 8vo; engraved portrait of Dickens after Daniel Maclise and 39 engraved plates by H.K. Browne [Phiz], some minor toning and a few spots to plates, otherwise bright; later full polished tan calf by Morrell, gilt-ruled borders, raised bands, gilt spine compartments, gilt-rolled edges, gilt dentelles, all edges gilt, a few minor marks, otherwise a very handsome copy.£2,200
First edition, first issue; 2 volumes, 8vo; 12 illustrations by George Cruikshank, occasional, light foxing, mostly to preliminary and terminal leaves, publisher's floral-patterned, embossed, pink cloth, spines gilt, a little rubbed and dust-soiled, spines faded, otherwise very good; xix, , 288; ix, , 263 , 36 (ads) pp.£2,200