1843 CHRISTMAS CAROL
DICKENS, Charles (author). John LEECH (illustrator). A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. London; Chapman & Hall. 1843.
Crown 8vo. Original pinkish-brown vertically-ribbed cloth with elaborate blind-stamped holly and ivy border to both covers surrounding a decorative floral lettering-wreath in gilt, original coated yellow endpapers, gilded edges; pp. [viii], -166 + [2, advertisements]; with half-title printed in blue, decorative title-page printed in red and blue, coloured frontispiece, and 3 additional fine handcoloured engraved plates with 4 complementary wood-engraved vignettes by W.J. Linton after John Leech; a pretty little copy with some overall light soiling and rubbing, mild darkening to spine, a couple of small, and minor splits to cloth at spine ends, with a few threads pulled, and very slight fraying to heel, some slightly irregular fading to boards; internally neat and clean with barely visible evidence of sympathetic strengthening to inner hinges; internally sound and crisp, with occasional toning to stock and a few minor marks; rare and excessively expensive in first edition, all 1843 editions are very scarce in original cloth, in collectable condition.
Third edition, thus printed to the title-page in red, issued in the same year as the first, and just days later. Dickens' great novella was a sell-out success on publication, and was the most popular book of the 1843 holiday season. According to the Dickens bibliographer John Eckel it was issued on 19th December in an edition of only 6,000 copies, with all copies sold by Christmas Eve. By the end of the year, just eleven days after publication, it was into its third edition, with the combined number of copies of the second and third editions estimated at less than 3,000 copies. Bibliographically complex, the author himself complicated the issue points in the early editions by trialing different combinations of colours for the endpapers (red, blue, green, yellow) and for the printing of the title-page. Small textual corrections were also made in the early printings, mainly appearing in the second edition, and tiny alternations made in the binding design.