'A Study in Scarlet' (1888) Sells for £27,000 at Auction

According to the November 10, 2012 print issue of Antiques Trade Gazette, a first edition of A Study in Scarlet (1888) “shattered” auction price records: “the copy in this Essex sale more than doubled any previous auction price for the first edition in bookform at £27,000” which is approximately $43,219 (USD). The sale occurred at Sworders and was part of the W. F. M. Hopkins Collection of the works of ACD (who I can only assume is a direct descend of Inspector Stanley Hopkins).

This sale is rather remarkable partly because the 1888 book edition is not a ‘true’ first edition of A Study in Scarlet - that honor of course belongs to the so-called “most expensive magazine in the world” Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887 (rarer than Shakespeare First Folio) which recently sold at auction for $156,000 (Sotheby’s in 2007). For an excellent and definitive introduction to Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887, Randall Stock's Annotated Checklist and Census on his website The Best of Sherlock Holmes is a must. For a more general history and critical analysis of STUD, see: ‘A Study in Scarlet: The Quiet Creation of an Archetype’.

[Cover of the “most expensive magazine in the world”.]

The following is from Antiques Trade Gazette (Nov 10, 2012, p.46) and includes a considerable amount of information I was unable to find online, either at ATG’s website or on the usual ACD/Sherlock Holmes auction sites and should be of interest to various Sherlock Holmes and ACD collectors/bibliophiles/antiquarians:

"[T]he bookform edition [of A Study in Scarlet], issued in 1888 by Ward Lock with six full-page, wood-engraved illustrations by Charles Doyle is itself extremely rare and the first issue copy in this Essex sale more than doubled any previous auction price for the first edition in bookform at £27,000. A modest estimate of £3000-5000 may have been inspired by the fact that this copy, showing a little light foxing, had been rebound, with the title written in ink on the spine, but the original front wrappers were pasted to the covers. The Hopkins copy, bought at Sotheby’s in 1952 for £25, was lotted with another, undated copy, featuring the illustrations by George Hutchinson first seen in 1891. 

[Lot #202 - A Study in Scarlet.]

"An 1890 first of the second Holmes story, The Sign of Four, in a first issue binding of red cloth gilt, with “Spencer Blackett’s Standard Library’ at the foot of the spine, that had been bought from the London bookseller Frank Hollings for £25, again in 1952, sold at £4100. It was lotted with a bright copy of the 1892, Newnes second edition [of SIGN] in the original pictorial covers.”

[Lot #211 - The Sign of Four.]

Other rare ACD items from the Hopkins collection included: a first edition (in original wrappers) of ACD’s The Crime of the Congo, with a related letter sent by ACD to a Mr Carnegie, which sold for £440; a 1916 first of ACD’s A Visit to Three Fronts inscribed on the front wrapper “From A. Conan Doyle, Aug. 16.” Also sold for £3000 was an archive of documents relating ACD’s involvement in the Oscar Slater affair: “this archive comprised 16 documents written by or to Conan Doyle in 1927, concerning the publication of The Truth About Oscar Slater, which influenced his release that same year.”

[Lot #200 - various ACD books relating to the Oscar Slater case.]

Quick Links to Auction and Items:

W. F. M. Hopkins Collection auction at Sworders.

A Study in Scarlet (1888) first bookform edition.

The Sign of Four - first and second editions.

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    "You’re all idiots."
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  8. mrsmarymorstan reblogged this from bakerstreetbabes and added:
    “Oh for fucks sake, why are you still so obssesed!” most likely.
  9. devsfan55 reblogged this from bakerstreetbabes and added:
    ACD would probably be upset that it wasn’t one of his novels. He never really understood how wonderful those stories...
  10. taliskertalisker reblogged this from bakerstreetbabes and added:
    "Are you insane?!"
  11. consultingstudent reblogged this from bakerstreetbabes
  12. eldritchnightmarecuties reblogged this from bakerstreetbabes and added:
    Probably something like “you fuckers”.
  13. gifted-by-the-gernumblies reblogged this from consultingdragoness
  14. operation-bagginshield reblogged this from bakerstreetbabes and added:
    I think he’d be spinning in his grave whilst screaming “WHY DON’T ANY OF MY NON-SHERLOCK HOLMES BOOKS SELL FOR THAT?”
  15. consultingdragoness reblogged this from bakerstreetbabes and added:
    This is what ACD would probably say:
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  17. bakerstreetbabes reblogged this from always1895 and added:
    Unreal. What would...say, do you think? ;)
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