FIRST EDITION, PUBLISHER'S PRESENTATION COPY, OF CONAN DOYLE'S THE CAPTAIN OF THE POLESTAR AND OTHER TALES, FEATURING HIS FAMOUS MARIE CELESTE MYSTERY, ONE OF ONLY 750 COPIES
CONAN DOYLE, Arthur. The Captain of the Polestar and Other Tales. London: Longmans, Green, 1890. Octavo, original dark green cloth, patterned endpapers, uncut and partially unopened. $850.
First edition, publisher's presentation copy, of this collection of Conan Doyle short stories, one of only 750 copies bound for sale, featuring the publisher's title page presentation blindstamp.
Conan Doyle's improved standing after the publication of Micah Clarke allowed him to secure publication of this collection of short stories previously published in minor periodicals. However, the publisher was not optimistic about this work's prospects and only went to the expense of binding 750 copies. To his surprise, they all sold on the first day, proving once again that Conan Doyle was a bankable author. "Of the stories collected in the volume, 'J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement' on the mystery of the Marie Celeste is the most notable. It was among the first of the author's stories to be accepted by an important magazine [Cornhill Magazine]… One reviewer paid the author the compliment of attributing it to Stevenson" (Green & Gibson A5, notes). Unfortunately, the strength of Conan Doyle's work created a mystery in itself—readers could not decide whether the intriguing tale of an American merchant brigantine and vanished crew was true (it wasn't). The interest in Conan Doyle's work brought the fabricated mystery of the Marie Celeste into the public consciousness over and over—initially at publication and again each time Sherlock fans went seeking out his earlier work. In 1913, Strand Magazine solicited solutions to the story's mystery from readers and published what they deemed to be a promising one. Conan Doyle, altogether tired of having the public eye on the story, denigrated his own work as "done irresponsibly" and unable to stand up to serious analysis. Conan Doyle intended to release a new edition of this volume with many substantial changes, but the work was apparently never completed. First issue, with undated advertisement catalog listing only Micah Clarke on page 12. Green & Gibson A5.
Only a few spots of foxing to interior, minor expert repairs to spine ends and joints. An extremely good copy. Scarce.