Yesterday, a presentation copy of the first “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground” facsimile was auctioned and sold at Sotheby’s. So if you wanted it, you’re too late, but I’m reproducing it here so you know what it looks like and what prices these kind of copies can go for nowadays.
This book is a presentation copy for the facsimile of “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground”, the manuscript that preceded “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. The copy is inscribed by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) himself and addressed to the Duchess of Albany.
According to Sotheby’s, this copy (dating 1886, while the inscription dates from 1889) is an unrecorded presentation binding. In a letter to his publishers, dated 17 December 1886, Dodgson requested three special copies: one in white vellum (for Alice Liddell) and two in morocco (one for Alice’s mother and the other untraceable). These were to be ready in time for Christmas 1886. Perhaps this is the untraceable one.
The Duchess of Albany was married to Prince Leopold, who is rumoured to have had a romantic interest in Alice Liddell in the past. He was also invited to become the godfather of Alice’s second child, Leopold Reginald Hargreaves.
Charles Dodgson only became acquinted with the Duchess in 1889, five years after Price Leopold’s death.
Sotheby’s estimated the price of this presentation copy at 20,000 to 30,000 GBP. It sold for 35,000 GBP!