A Study in Scarlet

DOYLE, Arthur Conan

DOYLE, Arthur Conan A Study in Scarlet

Ward Lock & Co., 1888.

First edition, first printing with "younger" spelt correctly in the publisher's preface. Original publisher's wrappers mounted onto board with spine rebacked in contemporary red cloth spine titled in manuscript and final advert leaf mounted on board at rear. Publisher's preliminary advert on front pastedown and 11pp of further adverts to rear (the last of which is on the rear pastedown). Six full page line drawings by Charles Doyle. Covers dusty but with scarlet lettering remaining bright and only a little general edge wear. Abrasions to front pastedown and the title page somewhat foxed. Occasional scattered foxing throughout and a small ink mark to p.19. Overall an authentic and well preserved example of a legendary rarity.

The first edition in book form of the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes. The book was written during 1886 and, after being turned down by several publishers, Ward Lock agreed to publish the book, but not for a year as they said 'the market is flooded at present with cheap fiction'. Doyle attempted to negotiate a royalty, but was refused on the grounds that "the tale may have to be inserted with some other in one of our annuals". Thus for the modest sum of £25 Ward Lock bought what was to be the priceless copyright to this soon to be famous story.
As the publisher had suggested, A Study In Scarlet was included in Beeton's Christmas Annual in late 1887, and engendered sufficient interest to prompt the publisher to issue it in book form with illustrations by the author's father (then in an asylum for epilepsy and alcoholism) in the middle of 1888.
Part of the reason for its scarcity, apart from its modest print run, is that the flimsy paper wrappers were prone to disintegrate, quickly followed by the rest of the book. Thus, whilst it can be shown to be a scarce book in any state (six copies recorded at auction in 40 years), it is tantamount to being unheard of in commerce to still possess the original stylish wrappers (each of the six auction copies were rebound without wrappers or adverts).

Stock ID: 30808


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