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Rare Edition of 'Alice' Lands in L.A.-land

November 16, 1998|BOOTH MOORE

To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the death of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll), Christie's is offering for sale a rare 1865 first edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," estimated to fetch from $1.5 million to $2 million.

The book, along with illustrations, engravings, other first editions, autographed letters and photographs, will be on view in Los Angeles today through Wednesday before hitting the auction block in New York on Dec. 6.

The 1865 edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" is the working copy Carroll used to prepare "The Nursery Alice," a simplified infant's version of the story published in 1889. It contains his markings in characteristic purple ink.

The copy also contains 10 original drawings by illustrator John Tenniel, including "The Cheshire Cat," "The Mad Hatter" and "The Blue Caterpillar."

After the book was printed in 1865, Tenniel objected to the inferior print quality and demanded a recall of copies. The entire edition was reprinted, so the first generally available editions were dated 1866. Only 22 copies of the 1865 first edition are known to exist. Seventeen are in libraries, and five, including the copy to be auctioned, are privately owned.

The famous albumen print portrait of Alice Liddell, the original "Alice," which was taken by Carroll circa 1858, is expected to sell for between $30,000 and $40,000.

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"Lewis Carroll and Alice: The Private Collection of Justin G. Schiller," on view today through Wednesday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Francis Wahlgren, department head of books and manuscripts for Christie's, will give a gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Christie's, 360 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills. Free. (310) 385-2600.

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