The Sign of Four

DOYLE, Arthur Conan

DOYLE, Arthur Conan The Sign of Four

Spencer Blackett, 1890.

First edition, first state with 13 for 138 on p.[iii] and "w shed" on p.56. First issue binding stamped "Spencer Blackett's Standard Library". Original red cloth with black decorative border and gilt titles. Frontispiece by Charles Kerr. A fine copy. Exceptionally bright and crisp, with just the slightest toning to the spine. Internally fresh with perfect hinges. A superb copy, the finest we have encountered.

The second Sherlock Holmes novel owes its inception to a meeting between Doyle and J.M.Stoddart of Lippincott's Magazine, organized by Cornhill's James Payn, in which Doyle agreed to write a story for the magazine. Stoddart asked for a spicy title and Doyle replied, "I shall give Sherlock Holmes of "A Study in Scarlet" something else to unravel.".
The novel enjoyed muted success in America and appeared in England as part of Spencer Blackett's Standard Library series in October 1890. Again sales were modest and much of the edition was still in the form of unbound sheets when Griffin Farrar took over Spencer Blacket in 1891. However, with a resurgence of interest aroused by the Strand Magazine's serialising of The Adventures of Sherlock Homes, Griffin Farrar quickly bound up the remaining sheets with their imprint at the base of the spine, which forms the secondary issue.
Copies of the first issue are scarce in any condition and genuinely rare in fine condition.

Green & Gibson A7a; De Waal 279

Stock ID: 39924


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