Lot 12, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Conan Doyle"), entitled "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", 34 pp, 4to, South Norwood, London, c.1893, in sepia ink on ruled paper removed from a composition book, with revisions in ink and pencil, publisher's page count in blue crayon, pp 22 & 33 versos with pencil scribbling by a child, tears and creases along edges with some slight loss not affecting text, some light spotting throughout. Housed in a custom-made red cloth portfolio with gilt labelled spine, some light fingermarks. Estimate US$ 380,000 - 420,000 (€340,000 - 370,000). Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- A handwritten draft by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of his 1893 Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Case of Greek Interpreter, is to be sold at Bonhams Fine Literature sale in New York on 11 April. It is estimated at $380,000-420,000 (£275,000-300,000).
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), First page of Conan Doyle manuscript for "The Greek Interpreter", South Norwood, London, c.1893. Photo: Bonhams.
The Case of the Greek Interpreter is best known for the first appearance of Holmes’s older brother Mycroft and is among a treasure-trove of Sherlock Holmes’ material included in the sale which also features:
• The handwritten manuscript of The Problem of Thor Bridge – estimate $250,000-350,000 (£180,000-250,000) – written in 1922 and one of the last Sherlock Homes mysteries. The story is notable for its reference to Dr Watson’s tin box, kept safe on a bank vault and crammed with notes on Holmes’s cases.
Lot 17, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Autograph Manuscript Signed ("A Conan Doyle"), entitled "The Problem of Thor's Bridge" and "Continuation of 'The Problem of Thor's Bridge'", 48 pp in two parts, 8vo and 4to, Crowborough, East Sussex, c.1922, in various colored inks with revisions in ink or pencil on yellow-ruled paper, some pages clipped, some soiling, folds and marginal tears, hole in upper left corner of second part from removal of metal clasp. First part bound in near contemporary white cloth lettered in gilt, bound for Doyle or his son; second part loose in custom red cloth portfolio and box. Estimate US$ 250,000 - 350,000 (€220,000 - 310,000). Photo: Bonhams.
• A handwritten page from probably the most famous Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, which marked the return of the detective in 1901/2 after his supposed death at the Reichenbach Falls. As a publicity stunt, individual pages from the original manuscript were distributed to book shops in the United States. Inevitably, many were lost or stolen and the surviving pages are scarce and much prized. This page – from Chapter XIII – is especially valuable because it is one of the few of the remaining sheets that feature Holmes and Watson discussing the case. It is estimated at $100,000-150,000 (£70,000-110,000).
Lot 14, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Autograph Manuscript, a single leaf from The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1 p, 4to, n.p., c.1902, being the first page of "Chapter XIII. Fixing the Nets," one line crossed through, old tears along folds expertly reinforced. Housed in a custom gray cloth portfolio, gilt-lettered black morocco-backed marbled cloth box. Estimate US$ 100,000 - 150,000 (€88,000 - 130,000). Photo: Bonhams.
An article by John Sutherland on the background to the texts is featured in the latest edition of Bonhams Magazine. http://www.bonhams.com/magazine/21317/
The sale also features a reminder of Doyle’s other career as a writer of romantic historical novels, in the handwritten 561-page manuscript of Rodney Stone: a Reminiscence of the Ring. Written in 1895, and set in 1851, the work brings together Rodney, sent to London to acquire the ways of a man-about-town, and his childhood friend, aspiring bare knuckle fighter Boy Jim, to solve a murder mystery. The estimate is $80,000-100,000 (£60,000-70,000).
Lot 13, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Autograph Manuscript Signed ("A Conan Doyle"), entitled "Rodney Stone: A Reminiscence of the Ring," 531 pp, various sizes 12mo to 8vo, Pall Mall, London, c.1896, with an unpublished two-page preface laid into volume I, some pages trimmed, minor tears and soiling. Bound in contemporary green-gray cloth, gilt-lettered spines, slipcase. A few leaves repaired, cloth of volume 2 splitting. Estimate US$ 80,000 - 120,000 (€71,000 - 110,000). Photo: Bonhams.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), First page of Conan Doyle manuscript for unpublished preface to Rodney Stone, Pall Mall, London, c.1896. Photo: Bonhams.
The sale is particularly rich in late 19th and early 20th century literature and also offers:
• Chapters 12 - 25 of When the Sleeper Awakes by H G Wells written between 1898 and 1903. It tells the story of a man who falls asleep in 1897 and wakes in 2010 to find himself the richest man in the world and was loosely adapted by Woody Allen for his 1973 comedy Sleeper. It is estimated at $120,000-180,000 (£85,000-130,000).
Lot 11, Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), Autograph and Typed Manuscript Signed ("H.G. Wells"), being chapters 12-25 of the novel When the Sleeper Wakes, 423 pp, 4to, Heatherlea, Worcester Park, London, c.1898-99, in ink and typed with corrections. Bound in navy blue straight-grained morocco, lettered in gilt. Custom chemise and morocco slipcase. Joints and extremities rubbed, some smaller pages are mounted to album leaves with a little darkening to adhesive; overall excellent condition. Estimate US$ 120,000 - 180,000 (€110,000 - 160,000). Photo: Bonhams.
• Draft and fair copies of Wilkie Collins play The New Magdalen from 1871/2 which was written simultaneously with the novel of the same name. The Magdalen of the title refers to a reformed prostitute and the play was a huge hit, was translated into several languages and ran for 19 consecutive months at the Olympic Theatre off Drury Lane where Collins staged equally successful dramatisations of his novels The Moonstone and Woman in White. The lot carries an estimate of $60,000-80,000 (£45,000-60,000).
Lot 4, Wilkie Collins (1824-1889), Autograph Manuscript, being working drafts of the play "The New Magdalen. A Dramatic Story in Three Acts", in ink and heavily corrected, 88 leaves, plus manuscript fair copies in another hand with occasional corrections; together 212 pp on 161 leaves, including the Prologue, Acts I and II and a portion of Act III, 4to, London, c.1871. Housed in cloth folder and green morocco backed slipcase with gilt lettered spine. Overall toning with some tears and soiling, with minor loss. Estimate US$ 60,000 - 80,000 (€53,000 - 71,000). Photo: Bonhams.