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It was the best of times: Dickensian treasure to be sold 1/22/19

William Bunch Auctions is proud to offer an impressive and valuable collection of Charles Dickens first editions in our Rare Books & Fine Prints/Native American Artifacts auction on January 22, 2019. In all, there are ten lots of Dickens first editions.

Among the items is a unique volume of Dickensian history: the first edition, first issue of "A Tale of Two Cities" (London, Chapman and Hall 1859) in late 19th cent gilt-ruled crushed red morocco by Riviere. This exceedingly rare true first edition is bound from the serial parts. Tipped-in is a letter dated 17 July 1867 from the author (manuscript signed by Dickens!) to his publishers at Ticknor and Fields that accompanied a packet of pages for inclusion in the forthcoming publication of "Reprinted Pieces" regarding the order of publication, a short letter written by Count Arthur Dillon (the man who inspired the character of Sydney Carton), a letter from Lord John Russell (dedicatee of "Tale of Two Cities"), and a letter from Hablot Knight Browne (Dickens's long-time illustrator) regarding business affairs, later used as evidence in a lawsuit. Additionally, this album contains the printed advertisement leaf announcing the publication of "A Tale of Two Cities" and two sets of original printed blue wrappers for the serially issued parts of the novel bound in. Complete and very fine, with all 16 plates by Hablot Knight Browne. This remarkable tome will be sold as lot 571A.

Lot 571A

Other notable books from the collection include lot 560: the first edition, first issue of "Oliver Twist" (London: Richard Bentley, 1838) featuring his pseudonym “Boz” on the title pages and the abandoned “Fireside” plate at the end of Volume III. All 24 plates by George Cruikshank are present. Unlike most of his other novels, Dickens issued Oliver Twist in book format before he finished publishing it in serial parts. He was so impatient to get the book to print that he had not approved all of Cruikshanks’ illustrations (sent to the printer separately), and within a week of the first printing, Dickens stopped press to replace the final plate and put his name on the titles. Thus, this particular issue was only on the market for 7 days. This set is in exceptional condition, with no extraneous marks, foxing, or tears.

Lot 560

Lot 571: First edition of "David Copperfield" (London, Bradbury and Evans 1850) in contemporary half green morocco over marbled boards. Dickens's finest and favorite work features 38 plates illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne.

Lot 571

Lot 573: First edition of "Dombey and Son" (London, Bradbury and Evans 1848) in contemporary half green sheep over green cloth. The scarce Dickensian novel is about the inner turmoil and dark dealings of a London shipping outfit. This printing contains the first ever published example of a "dark plate", a technological innovation in book illustration. It has 38 plates in all by Hablot Knight Browne.

Lot 573

Lot 580: True first edition of "The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit" (London, Chapman and Hall 1844) in contemporary green pebbled sheep over marbled boards. This true first has been considered a ghost by some experts. The Dickens bibliographer John Sadleir called for the 13-line errata leaf but was unable to locate a copy. Includes 40 etched plates by Hablot Knight Browne, toned at the extremities as usual. Very scarce, Dickens thought this his best work, though it was not initially well received by his readers.

Lot 580

These and many more fine books and prints will be auctioned off starting at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, January 22. You can view the whole catalog and register to bid on our website at Any direct inquiries can be addressed to Kiley Samz at

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