1896 Robert Louis Stevenson Book, "Child's Garden of Verses"

Value (2003) | $2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction

My grandfather, who is an artist and art collector and book collector in Chicago, gave this to me around the time I was born. He actually gave one to my sister who's 13 months younger, and we really didn't know whose was whose, but I kind of just chose this one when I got home from college.

Well, it's an incredible gift. It's a great children's book. It's Robert Louis Stevenson's "Child's Garden of Verses," which is one of the popular books of the 19th century. The book was published simultaneously in London and in New York by the Bodley Head and Charles Scribner's in 1896. It's not the first edition, but it's a book that lets us see the true connoisseurship in book collecting. Your grandfather obviously spent a lot of time searching for the ultimate copy of the books that he was buying, if this is any example.


The binding itself is in fabulous condition. And when we look inside, we can see that its title page tells us that it's illustrated by Charles Robinson-- a very important English illustrator-- and it is just wonderfully hand-colored. Charles Robinson did the illustrations for the book, and then the book was printed incorporating his illustrations. This is, therefore, the first illustrated edition of the book in England. The book itself is not excessively rare, but it's most usually seen without color at all. Another factor that contributes to its value is the fact that it comes from a celebrated collection. A. Edward Newton was one of the great book collectors of the 20th century. His books were sold at auction in the 1930s. And here we see that it was colored by Miss Gloria. Most books, were they to be colored, would be colored by a group of women. It was very unusual for it to be signed and identified as to who did the coloring. The book, in this condition, so fine and so unique, would be worth $2,000 to $3,000 at auction.

Good. That's wonderful.

Appraisal Details

New York, NY
Riverrun Books & Manuscripts
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
Appraised value (2003)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
San Francisco, CA (August 16, 2003)

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