The Rare “Trial Issue,” with the Title-Page Printed in Red and Green
Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.... With Illustrations by John Leech.
London: Chapman and Hall, 1844.
In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas....With Illustrations by John Leech. London: Chapman & Hall, 1844.
First edition, very rare so-called “trial issue,” with title-page printed in red and green but with half-title in blue. A blue half-title with the green title-page is not a variant that Smith mentions. Foolscap octavo (6 5/16 x 4 1/16 inches; 160 x 102 mm). [viii], -166, [2, publisher's ads]. With “Stave One.” With all the first edition text points from Table I of Smith, except for page 21 "Gloom." Period here is faint, but Smith notes that at least five copies of the first edition exist with a faint period. Yellow endpapers. Four color-plates with tissue guards, and other intertextual black and white drawings.
Calhoun & Heaney note a few variant copies of the “Stave One” issue (now generally accepted as first edition, second issue), “with a red and green title-page dated 1844....Of the two reported copies, we have examined one, and that looked suspicious. If such copies are to be accepted as authentic, they would constitute a first state of the Second Issue.” More recently, Smith has examined such a copy at the W.A. Clark Library and accepted it as an authentic example of this rare issue. The red and green title-pages and the green half-titles are agreed to have been printed earlier (thus the “trial issue” moniker).
Original cinnamon vertically-ribbed cloth, Front board and spine stamped in blind and gilt, back board stamped in blind. All edges gilt. Yellow coated endpapers. With some chipping and minor cloth repairs with old cloth to head and tail of spine. Some splitting along outer joints, but binding still firm. Tips and edges a bit bumped and rubbed. Some light soiling to boards. Some very light browning to leaves. Previous owner's very light, faded ink inscription on half-title. Overall a very good, clean and bright copy.
Smith II, 4. Calhoun & Heaney, especially pp. 35, 48-49.