"IT IS MY BUSINESS TO KNOW WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DON'T KNOW": FIRST EDITIONS OF THE ADVENTURES AND MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
CONAN DOYLE, Sir Arthur. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. WITH: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. London: George Newnes (Gresham Press), 1892, 1894. Together, two volumes. Tall octavo, original black and gilt-stamped pictorial pale and dark blue cloth, beveled board-edges, patterned endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in a custom slipcase. $17,000.
First editions in book form of these classic stories starring literature's most famous detective, illustrated by Sidney Paget.
Sherlock Holmes first appeared in the novel A Study in Scarlet (1887), but his adventures in the Strand Magazine would bring both him and his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, lasting fame. "The initial 12 tales were collected between covers as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, published in England and America in 1892; and 11 of the second 12… as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, published in 1894. If any reader be prepared to name two other books that have given more innocent but solid pleasure, let him speak now— or hold his peace!" (Haycraft, 50). These volumes contain such famous and memorable tales as "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." Of special note is the last case in the Memoirs, "The Final Problem," in which Holmes apparently meets his death in a struggle with "the Napoleon of crime," Professor Moriarty. "At one point, tiring of the detective, Doyle attempted to exterminate him… but the clamor of his admirers forced him to resurrect Holmes for several further volumes, and his popularity has waned little since" (Benet, 273). With Sidney Paget's original, iconic illustrations: "Paget's spirited illustrations… greatly assisted to popularize those stories" (DNB). Adventures in first-issue binding, with blank street sign on front cover illustration. Tan patterned endpapers rather than gray. Without scarce dust jackets. Green & Gibson A10a, A14a. DeWaal 520, 596.
Usual light scattered foxing to text, inner paper hinges expertly repaired; original cloth better than usually found, with light wear to spine extremities, gilt bright.