Item #5000624 The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, containing a faithful record of the Perambulations, Perils, Travels, Adventures and Sporting Transactions of the Corresponding Members. Edited by "Boz" Charles DICKENS.
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, containing a faithful record of the Perambulations, Perils, Travels, Adventures and Sporting Transactions of the Corresponding Members. Edited by "Boz".

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, containing a faithful record of the Perambulations, Perils, Travels, Adventures and Sporting Transactions of the Corresponding Members. Edited by "Boz".

London: Chapman and Hall, 1836-1837.

Twenty numbers as published, in the original nineteen monthly wrappered octavo parts; forty-three inserted engraved plates, including frontispiece and vignette title-page; original green printed wrappers designed by Seymour; in a custom-made quarter morocco case.

Pickwick in the original parts

A most attractive set of Pickwick in original parts, well-preserved by a series of owners, and in unsophisticated condition.

A most attractive set of Pickwick in original parts, well-preserved by a series of owners, and in unsophisticated condition.

Collation of a Pickwick in parts is famously laborious. There are often multiple varying states or issues of individual components, whether text, engravings, wrappers, or advertisements. Changes were made to engravings as they were reprinted, sometimes because the plates wore out, errors in the text were corrected, and changes to the wrappers were frequent to revise the advertisements that they included.

Suffice to say of this set that, as with most, it is made up from different states. What is important is its impeccable original condition, as sold by the Belfast bookseller Hodgson, probably to H.W. Calmount who has boldly signed each part (presumably a Dublin reader, since there is a Calmount Park in Dublin).

The exhaustive description by Hatton and Cleaver is recognised as the standard bibliographical analysis: a full collation has been prepared of the present set. In summary: Parts I-XIII are in the later or reprinted wrappers with the others in the primary wrappers. The plates are mostly in their later states (where priority is distinguished) until the tenth part, after which they are a mixture of first and second states. Most texts are in their corrected later state. Four of the seven inserted "address leaves" by the author and publisher are present. (Also present are Calmount's copies of "Illustrations to the Pickwick Club... by Samuel Weller" (E. Gratten, 1837) parts I & II, in the original green wrappers).

Nowadays, as it should be, as much attention is paid to the coherence of a set and to be able to show, as with this one, that there has been no sophistication attempted. The set is as issued, as purchased serially by its first owner, and in original condition.

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In the past collectors have been anxious to acquire so-called "prime" sets, composed only of first states or issues of the various components. This was especially the case in the 1930s when enormous premiums were paid. Since only a few hundred copies of the first few parts were published in 1836, and those parts were later reprinted to meet demand as the novel's popularity snowballed after part IV, this is an almost hopeless ambition – at any rate to find a set issued in that form, rather than later merged or made up. Over the years collectors have exchanged parts between sets, often improving individual plates and exchanging earlier states of wrappers for older ones, thus terribly muddying the bibliographical waters.

Provenance: Hodgson, Belfast bookseller (small label on most front wrappers); each front wrapper inscribed at head "H.W. Calmount"; Arnold Greenhill (pictorial bookplate); H. Bradley Martin (emblematic bookplate, sale Sotheby's New York, 30 April 1990, lot 2766, $6,000); private collection (Australia).

Hatton & Cleaver, 3; Eckel, p.17ff.

Condition Report: Some wear to a couple of spines, some stitching a little loose; the first part a little aged; generally in fine original condition.

Price (AUD): $16,500.00

US$10,849.67   Other currencies

Ref: #5000624

Condition Report