AN 1865 edition of Alice in Wonderland is estimated by Christie’s in New York at $2-3 million. It will come up at a stand-alone sale on June 16 immediately after the Books & Manuscripts auction, at Rockefeller Plaza. This copy of the first issue of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of ten surviving copies still in original red cloth, only two of which are in private hands, the other described as “heavily worn.”
In 1862 Charles Dodgson (alias Lewis Carroll), along with a friend The Rev Robinson Duckworth, took the three daughters of Dean Liddell of Christ Church, Oxford, Lorina, Alice and Edith, on a trip on the Thames during which he related the first parts of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground., the precursor to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. On their return Alice asked him to write down the story. Working with renowned illustrator John Tenniel of Punch magazine, Lewis Carroll developed the elements of the story into this book. Three years later during June 1865 the first edition was printed with the intention to have Macmillan & Co. of London publish it on 4 July 1865. Lewis Carroll requested 50 advance copies to give away. A few days later Carroll heard from Tenniel that he was “entirely dissatisfied with the printing of the pictures.” Carroll withdrew the entire edition of 2000 and asked for the advance copies he had sent to be returned.
Surviving copies of the 1865 edition are excessively rare. There are only 22 known with 16 in institutional libraries. Only six remain in private hands. This work will be previewed in London from May 21-25, in San Francisco from June 2-4 and Los Angeles from June 6-9.