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Last edited by Evan Kushner
March 21, 2014 | History

Conan Doyle's Best Books: In Three Volumes; Illustrated 7 editions

Cover of: Conan Doyle's Best Books | Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
About the Book

P. F. Collier & Son produced what must be one of the best-known older editions: a three-volume set of "Conan Doyle's Best Books" which included The Sign of the Four, A Study in Scarlet, The White Company, Beyond the City and a score of short stories (mostly not Holmes).

In the Collier three-volume selection of "Best Books" the running headings in Vol. I (Study) are in 2mm italics and in line with 2.5mm page numbers; those in Vol. II (Sign) are 2mm roman and are not in line with page numbers larger than 2mm.

This Collier set was produced in late 1903 or early 1904. No inscribed copy has been found dated earlier than 1904 despite much inquiry. Collier's produced three issues of the "Best Books," the printing of the title pages at least becoming progressively sloppier.

At least three impressions of the titlepage/Contents leaf were made: A, bright crisp impression in orange on the t.p., the orange on the Holmes bust in perfect register; B, smudgy but light impression in dull red ink, slightly out of register leftwards on bust; C, light, smudgy, dull red, badly out of register downward and to the right.

Fenno was not the only firm to capitalize on Gillette. The 1903 Collier "Best Books of Conan Doyle" were a "Sherlock Holmes Edition" bearing a cover silhouette, with a more recognizable Gillette likeness on the titlepage, and a 1903 frontispiece of Gillette by Frederic Dorr Steele. He had been commissioned by Collier to illustrate the stories of "The Return of Sherlock Holmes," which began in Collier's Magazine in September 1903 and ran through January 1905. The Steele frontispiece was evidently part of this commission, and the three-volume set would have been ready for the 1903 Christmas season.

The 1903 Steele frontispiece in the Collier "Best Books" probably confirms the earliest known association date, 1904, for this item.

7 editions First published in 1903

Edition Read Locate Buy
Cover of: The Sign of the Four
1904, P. F. Collier & Son, Publishers
The Sign of the Four
Hardcover in English - Sherlock Holmes Edition
Cover of: A Study in Scarlet
1904, P. F. Collier & Son, Publishers
A Study in Scarlet
Hardcover in English - Sherlock Holmes Edition
Cover of: The White Company
1903, P. F. Collier & Son, Publishers
The White Company
Hardcover in English - Sherlock Holmes Edition
Cover of: The White Company
1903, P. F. Collier & Son, Publishers
The White Company
Hardcover in English - Sherlock Holmes Edition
Cover of: The Sign of the Four
1903, P. F. Collier & Son, Publishers
The Sign of the Four
Hardcover in English - Sherlock Holmes Edition
Cover of: Conan Doyle's Best Books
1903, P. F. Collier & Son, Publishers
Conan Doyle's Best Books
Hardcover in English - Sherlock Holmes Edition
Cover of: A Study in Scarlet
1903, P. F. Collier & Son, Publishers
A Study in Scarlet
Hardcover in English - Sherlock Holmes Edition

History

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March 21, 2014 Edited by Evan Kushner Added new cover
March 2, 2012 Edited by i r firefly Edited without comment.
March 2, 2012 Edited by i r firefly Edited without comment.
March 2, 2012 Edited by i r firefly Edited without comment.
December 9, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page