I have a number of interesting association copies in my library, but a first edition of Frankenstein inscribed to Lord Byron by the author blows away anything I have by a good measure. That’s what bookseller Peter Harrington is offering up for a mere £350,000 or so (which, at this particular moment, comes out to $566,985.26). I’ll check my recliner for spare change, but I think that’s more than I’m willing to spend right now. (Plus it’s only the first volume of the three volume set, and you can’t expect me to lower my standards and buy an incomplete set, can you?)
I’ve refrained from putting up a post on it until now because
I’m incredibly lazy I was waiting for the bookseller to put up a full prospectus, which he has now done. Here’s the relevant description:
[SHELLEY, Mary.] Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. London: for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818. First edition, presentation copy to Lord Byron, with the author’s autograph inscription to the front flyleaf: “To Lord Byron from the Author”. An unsurpassable association copy of the best known fiction of the Romantic era, perhaps the most evocative presentation copy conceivable in all nineteenth-century literature.
Condition: Vol. 1 only (of 3), duodecimo (184 × 114 mm). Bound for presentation in contemporary calf, boards ruled in gilt with a double fillet enclosing a leaf-and-flower-head roll in blind with floral tools in blind at inside corners, marbled endpapers, green silk book mark. Inscribed by the author on the binder’s blank immediately preceding the half-title; complete with the half-title and final advert leaf. Spine perished (a small fragment with a single blind-tooled oriel preserved in archival paper tipped-in on the rear pastedown), inner hinges expertly repaired by James Brockman, boards rubbed and a little stained, tips just worn, a few faint spots and some light offsetting, a tall, well-margined copy.
Worth that much? Probably. Though I would really want the second and third volumes…