The first of 'American Notes for General Circulation' that Charles Dickens inscribed for Richard Dana.

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Bid to $60,000 (£45,455) at Swann Galleries (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) was a three-decker, 1813 first of Pride and Prejudice in a 19th century binding of full polished turquoise morocco by Rivière. Missing half titles were supplied in Vol I with an example from a second edition, and in the other two volumes with facsimiles.

Sold at $46,000 (£34,850) at the auction on November 17 was a copy of Austen’s first published work, Sense and Sensibility. This was a novel written in the once popular letter form in 1795 but only much later revised for anonymous publication in 1811 – in an edition of no more than a thousand copies. This example was in a later but period style binding of half tan calf and marble boards.

American note-taker


The first of American Notes for General Circulation that Charles Dickens inscribed for Richard Dana.

Sold for $28,000 (£21,210) was a first of Charles Dickens’ American Notes for General Circulation. In the original ribbed brown cloth binding, this was a copy with a very desirable literary association, being inscribed “For Richard Dana/From his friend/Charles Dickens/Nineteenth October, 1842” on the half-title of the first volume. It was additionally signed by Dana on the front pastedowns.

Shortly after Dickens arrived in Boston in late January 1842, on his first visit to the US, a dinner was held in his honour at Papanti’s Dancing Academy.

There Dana, a lawyer, politician and author of a famous maritime memoir, Two Years before the Mast, that had been published anonymously a couple of years earlier, was one of the prominent guests, along with Oliver Wendell Holmes and others.

Four other copies inscribed by Dickens on or about the same date have been sold at auction, including one inscribed to another attendee at that Boston dinner, Josiah Quincy.