First Edition, First Issue in the Original Green Cloth
DICKENS, Charles. Tale of Two Cities. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne. London: Chapman and Hall , 1859.
First edition, first issue but in the secondary green binding. Octavo 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches; 210 x 140 mm. [i-vii] viii [ix-x], [1] 2-254pp. Without the 32 publisher's catalog. Sixteen inserted plates, including frontispiece and vignette title, by Browne ['Phiz']. All eight of Smith's internal flaws necessary for the first issue present, including page 213 misnumbered 113. Also, the List of Plates contains the "b" which is noted by Smith to have only been seen in the primary (Red Cloth) binding.

Publisherís secondary binding of olive-green cloth, covers stamped in blind, spine lettered in gilt. Pale yellow endpapers. Spine is a bit sunned. Some chipping to head and tail of the spine and a split in the cloth towards the top of the spine. Some splitting of the cloth along outer edges of spine. Inner hinges with hairline cracks but firm. Title-page is trimmed about 3 millimeters along fore-edge. All plates except frontis and engraved title are slightly trimmed along fore-edge and bottom edge, not affecting caption or image. A small library stamp for the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The National Library of the Netherlands) on title-page, with the subsequent deaccession stamp on top of it. Overall a very nice copy with an interesting and unseen combination of sheets and binding.

Pencil notations on the front free endpaper note that this copy was purchased from the estate of Gabriel Wells, New York Spring 1949. "Gabriel Wells (January 24, 1861 Ė November 6, 1946) was a noted bookseller, historian and author. He was one of the most important antiquarian booksellers in America and Britain in the first half of the twentieth century. He was president of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association in 1930." (Wikipedia)

According to Smith (13) regarding the secondary olive green binding " This binding is probably a later state than the red morocco [cloth] one since, in all copies seen with this binding, the List of Plates does not contain signature 'b' (see Hatton and Cleaver, p. 342) and page 213 is not misprinted '113'...Eckel (p. 90) states that copies bound in green cloth are 'very scarce'." Our present copy has both the signature "b" on the List of Plates as well as the misprinted "113."

A Tale of Two Cities was first serialized in Dickensís periodical All the Year Round, from April 30-November 26, 1859. Its appearance in monthly parts (July-December 1859) and book form mark Dickensís return to his old publishers Chapman and Hall, after a long stay with Bradbury and Evans. The extremely large audience for the novel in All the Year Round, however, left less than the usual demand for the parts issue and, at first, for the book, both of which are now quite rare. This title also marks the authorís final collaboration with Phiz, Dickensís most evocative and most sympathetic illustrator.

Smith Dickens I, 13. Hatton and Cleaver, pp. 333-342.

HBS # 68196 $4,500