June 2010 | Jonathan Shipley

Elementary, My Dear Watson...If You Have $500,000

Indeed, it's elementary for you to own yourself a copy of A Study of Scarlet, the first appearance of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed character, Sherlock Holmes, if you have a chunk of change in your pocketbook. Particularly the copy that will be auctioned shortly at Sotheby's - London. It is the only known inscribed copy, apart from the author's own, of the first printing of A Study of Scarlet.

Wow. Booktryst discusses it some, here...

There are only three signed or inscribed copies recorded of this monument in  the detective genre of literature, one of the rarest and most highly sought books of modern times, (only twenty copies in U.S. and British libraries and merely eleven in private hands) a volume keenly desired by Doyle and/or detective fiction collectors all over the world: the author's copy, currently in the possession of the Estate of Dame Jean Conan Doyle (the author's youngest daughter, who died in 1997); that under notice; and a copy at Yale's Beineke Library. The copy at the Beineke Library, tragically however, was mutilated, its inscribed page excised at some point prior to March 2003, when the crime was discovered. This, then, is one of only two signed or inscribed copies known to exist.