London: Chapman and Hall, 1859. Item #00734
A Spectacular Copy
In Original Green Cloth
With 1859 Title-Page
DICKENS, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. With Illustrations by H.K. Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1859.
First edition, second state with title-page still dated 1859 but with corrected pagination on page 213 and no signature "b" on the list of plates. Octavo. [i-vii]viii[ix-x], 2-254 pp. Sixteen inserted plates, including frontispiece and vignette title, by Browne ['Phiz'].
Publisher’s secondary binding of moderate olive green fine-diaper cloth, covers stamped in blind, spine lettered in gilt, original pale yellow coated endpapers. Boards remarkably fresh. Text and plates very clean and bright with just a minimal scattering of unobtrusive foxing. Just a tiny amount of wear to the top and bottom of the spine, inner hinges very expertly and almost invisibly strengthened. Armorial bookplate of Sir James Martin on front pastedown. A wonderful copy of this late novel, now extremely scarce in either of the original cloth bindings. This is by far the finest copy in original ‘green’ cloth of A Tale of Two Cities that we have ever seen, and although it is the ‘secondary binding’, it’s superlative condition really does justify it’s addition to any fine Dickens collection. Chemised in a full green morocco slip case.
This is a true first edition, second state in the original olive-green cloth. The red cloth issue is usually regarded as the primary binding, but copies in the olive-green cloth with the title-page dated 1859 are considered very scarce. Copies in the green-cloth binding were thereafter issued with a title-page dated 1860. These are referred to as the 'third' issue.
"In the very earliest state there are two pages numbered 113, page 213 furnishing the error. This was not corrected until some copies had been printed. The absence of this error does not necessarily invalidate a first edition, though the error is much preferred because it indicates a prior or earlier printing." Eckel pp. 86/87.
A Tale of Two Cities was first serialized in Dickens’s periodical All the Year Round, from April 30-November 26, 1859. Its appearance in monthly parts (July-December 1859) and book form marks Dickens’s return to his old publishers Chapman and Hall, after a long stay with Bradbury and Evans. The extremely large audience for the novel in All the Year Round, however, left less than the usual demand for the parts issue and, at first, for the book, both of which are quite rare. This title also marks the author’s final collaboration with Phiz, Dickens’s most evocative and most sympathetic illustrator.
Smith I, 13.