Arthur Conan Doyle Uncle Bernac manuscript, $34,000 (£26,840) at Potter & Potter.

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Arthur Conan Doyle’s (1859-1930) autographed manuscript of the novel Uncle Bernac took the top price at Potter & Potter’s (20% buyer’s premium) A Study in Sherlock, Part II: Including the Collections of Robert Hess and Roy Pilot sale.

Held in Chicago on February 15, the 336-lot auction featured books, manuscripts, ephemera, props and associated items related to the British author.

Estimated at $30,000-40,000, the Uncle Bernac manuscript made a hammer price of $34,000 (£26,840). This complete manuscript as published in the original serialisation appeared with the provisional title Boulogne. A Memory of the Empire.

It was written in Egypt, London, and elsewhere in the summer of 1896 and consisted of about 50,000 words on 125 leaves, most folio sized, including 10 half-sheets, a few other leaves cut down to a smaller size, and one half-sheet attached to p93 and not included in the pagination.

The draft included its original pagination throughout, holograph corrections, cancellations, and alterations. It was housed in a folding cloth chemise and slipcase and presented in a custom folding box detailed with brass plaque and latches.

This document was sold with the complete three-part American serialisation of Uncle Bernac as it appeared in The Cosmopolitan from January to March, 1897, and a copy of the first English edition of Uncle Bernac.

Lost World trio


The Lost World with Professor Challenger dust jacket, $10,000 (£7895) at Potter & Potter.

Doyle’s The Lost World with its “virtually unobtainable” original dust jacket realised a mid-estimate $10,000 (£7895). The book edition was published in London by Hodder and Stoughton on October 15, 1912, the serialisation in Strand Magazine having started in April the same year.

Potter & Potter said: “This first English trade edition featured the iconic image of Arthur Conan Doyle disguised as Professor Challenger on its dust jacket. This exact copy was the only one to ever appear at auction in the past.”

It was previously sold as lot 88 at Swann Galleries on June 20, 2013, and as lot 41 at Sotheby’s London on October 20, 2016.


First issue of the large paper copy of The Lost World, $3800 (£3000) at Potter & Potter.

Another decent performer was a first edition, first issue of the large paper copy of The Lost World. Estimated at $2000-3000, it made $3800 (£3000). It was published in London, New York and Toronto by Hodder and Stoughton in 1912. This oversized book featured 13 mounted plates - including a portrait frontispiece - and two maps. According to Green and Gibson: “Although 1000 copies were prepared, only 190 were bound. The remainder were transferred to the second issue.”


Advance copy of The Lost World, thought to be the first time an example has been offered at auction, $3200 (£2525) at Potter & Potter.

An advance copy of The Lost World, thought to be the first time an example has been offered at auction, made $3200 (£2525) guided at $2000-3000. In original printed wrappers, with text printed in red as seen on the original dust jacket, the upper cover was overprinted in black with the words Advance Copy, Publishing Date, October 15, 1912, Price, $1.25 net.

Brett as Holmes

The auction featured lots relating to actor Jeremy Brett, who will forever be linked with Sherlock Holmes thanks to his stage and screen roles.

A pair of photo albums featuring Brett as Holmes or in various stage roles was estimated at $150-250 but sold for a whopping $5500. This lot included a photo album of 80 colour behind-the-scenes photos of Brett as Holmes and Edward Hardwicke (1932-2011) as Watson, and an album of 22 colour photos of him on stage in various plays, or posing with other people, including Lillian Gish and Lauren Bacall. These albums came from the estate of Brett.

An archive of 40 audio cassettes of Brett’s performances, commercials, interviews, etc, was estimated at $100-200 and realised $3000. These were made in England in the c.1980s-90s. They consisted of primarily 90-minute tapes and some 60-minute tapes, with hand-written captions on inserts (in an unknown hand).

First slice

The first Hess auction took place at Potter & Potter in April last year (see ATG No 2595). Top results included $7000 (£5600) for a first edition of The Hound Of The Baskervilles printed in London by George Newnes in 1902. This example featured illustrations by Sidney Paget and its original matching box.