First Edition Copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol to be Offered at Auction at Heritage

DALLAS, TX: In their upcoming Rare Book auction, Heritage Auction Galleries will offer a scarce first edition, first issue copy of Charles Dickens’ immortal novel, A Christmas Carol, in exceptional condition, estimated to bring $40,000 to $50,000.

“One of the most widely beloved Christmas stories ever written, it would be hard to overstate the importance of this well-known classic,” said James Gannon, Director of Rare Book auctions for Dallas-based Heritage. “Originally released on December 19, 1843, A Christmas Carol was an instant sensation, selling more than 6,000 copies in one week. Since then, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his miraculous redemption has been adapted into nearly every media imaginable, making it an inseparable part of our modern Christmas traditions.”

“Although we tend to see the novel as a fairy tale today,” Gannon said, “it was definitely intended as a strongly political work, written by Dickens to forcefully illustrate the ever-widening gap between the rich, as characterized by the miserly and cheerless Scrooge, and the poor, as embodied in the character of the hard-working and loyal Bob Cratchit , in the dark days of the Industrial Revolution. These themes of social injustice and poverty were never far from Dickens’ mind, as seen in a number of his books, including Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Hard Times , just to name a few. He is credited with bringing an awareness of these issues to the general public, and using his novels to effect real social and political change.”

“In our upcoming auction, we’re pleased to offer a remarkable copy of the first edition, first issue of this classic book, complete with the hand-colored steel-engraved illustrations by John Leech,” Gannon said. “Part of the incredible H. Barry Morris Collection of Charles Dickens’ First Editions, it is housed in an attractive red morocco conservation case, that has proved effective in preserving this copy, which is in exceptional condition. This is a beautiful, rare, and very desirable copy, one that any book collector will be proud to own.”

This first edition, first issue copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, will be offered in Heritage’s upcoming Grand Format Books & Manuscripts Auction, to be held June 3 & 4, 2008 in Dallas, Texas.

Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. With Illustrations by John Leech. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843.
First edition, first issue, with the text uncorrected, “Stave I” as the first chapter heading, red and blue title-page dated 1843, blue half-title, and yellow endpapers. Small octavo (6.4375 x 4.0625 inches; 164 x 103 mm.). [8], 166, [2, advertisements] pp. Four hand-colored steel-engraved plates (frontispiece and facing pp. 25, 78, and 150) by and after John Leech and four wood-engraved text illustrations (on pp. 37, 73, 119, and 164) by W. J. Linton after John Leech.
ESTIMATE: $40,000 – $50,000

Additional items in the H. Barry Morris Collection of Charles Dickens’ First Editions include:

Charles Dickens. American Notes for General Circulation. In Two Volumes. London: Chapman and Hall, 1842.
First edition, first issue, with the preliminary pages in Volume I misnumbered (p. [x] numbered xvi). Presentation copy, inscribed and signed by Charles Dickens on the half-title: ” Mr: Serjeant Talfourd / From his friend / Charles Dickens / [flourish].” Two small octavo volumes (7.6875 x 4.6875 inches; 195 x 123 mm.). [12], 308; vii, [1, blank], 306, [6, advertisements] pages.

ESTIMATE: $60,000 – $75,000

Charles Dickens. Great Expectations. In Three Volumes. London: Chapman and Hall, 1861.
First edition, first impression of each volume. Three octavo volumes (7.8125 x 4.9375 inches; 198 x 125 mm.). [4], 344; [2], 351, [1, printer’s imprint]; [2], 344 pages plus 32-page publisher’s catalogue, dated May, 1861.

ESTIMATE: $40,000 – $60,000

Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1859.
First edition, first issue, with signature “b” present on the List of Plates leaf, and with all of the internal flaws listed by Smith, including “affectionately” on p. 134, line 12, and page 213 incorrectly numbered “113.” Octavo (8.6875 x 5.5 inches; 221 x 140 mm.). viii , [1, “List of Plates”], [1, blank], 254 pages. This copy without the 32-page publisher’s catalogue, dated November, 1859, bound at the end of some copies. Sixteen etched plates by H. K. Browne (“Phiz”), including frontispiece and added vignette title.

ESTIMATE: $10,000 – $15,000

For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

Prospective consignors and sellers of rare books are invited to visit Or simply email James Gannon at [email protected] or call (800) 872-6467, ext. 1609.

To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalogue, please contact Client Services at (800) 872-6467, extension 1150, or visit to order by email.