News | December 13, 2023

Charles Dickens American Notes for General Circulation Presentation Copy at Heritage

Heritage Auctions

Charles Dickens' American Notes for General Circulation

A Charles Dickens presentation copy joins Abraham Lincoln's signed Carte De Visite and an unmailed 1963 Christmas Card signed by John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy at Heritage's December 15 Historical Platinum auction.

The sale also features a range of typewriters from Steve Soboroff's notable collection including George Bernard Shaw's 1934 Remington Noiseless 7x.

"Whenever a presentation copy from Charles Dickens appears on the market, it always fascinates me to learn about the wide range of friends and associates to whom he would present copies of his books," says Francis Wahlgren, International Director, Rare Books & Manuscripts, at Heritage. "This sale has a wonderful presentation copy of his travel narrative recounting his first visit to North America in early 1842, entitled American Notes for General Circulation. Some of the notable Americans he met during this trip include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, Daniel Webster, and numerous others."

The copy offered by Heritage was inscribed to the prominent American historian, William H. Prescott. It reads: "W. H. Prescott / From his friend / Charles Dickens / October Nineteenth 1842." Prescott and Dickens maintained a correspondence over their lifetimes, agreeing on many subjects outlined in American Notes such as the need for universal copyright law and an abhorrence of slavery.

Other highlights include:

  • The English Bible from The Doves Press, 1903-1905, finely bound by Eleanore van Sweringen

  • John James Audubon's Mallard Duck, Anas Boschas, Plate CCXXI, London: R. Havell, 1834
  • Herman Melville's The Whale, the true first edition sheets of what became Moby-Dick, remainder issue, with the publisher's 1853 re-issue title pages, now bound in the original three volumes - no copy of this 1853 remainder issue in three volumes has been offered at auction in almost 40 years.