Double-Signed 25 Volume Set, “The Writings of Mark Twain” (1899)
This Author’s Edition de Luxe of Mark Twain’s Works was available in both leather and cloth bindings, and each volume was hand numbered. This particular set is bound in cloth and features paper labels on the spines of the books. Britannic Auctions sold this beautiful set for $4,161.
A special series, the Deluxe was limited to 620 copies, and as the limitation page states “only 600 copies are for sale in Great Britain and its dependencies.” This set of Mark Twain books is numbered 64/620. The paper also features a “Mark Twain” watermark considered a distinguishing characteristic; other versions feature a “Clemens” watermark.
Mark Twain has signed not only his pen name, but also his real name, Samuel Clemens.
Who’s Who: Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens?
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) chose to adopt the use of a pen name (or nom de plume) when he began writing. Clemens chose the name “Mark Twain” which harkened back to his riverboat days and is a term measuring two fathoms in depth: mark (measure) twain (two).
Mark Twain Discusses This Set of Books in 1899
As referenced in a very informative article on TwainQuotes.com, Mark Twain gave an interview to the London Chronicle upon his 1899 relocation to London referencing the release of this Edition de Luxe, saying:
“You see, my American publishers are about to issue an edition deluxe of my books in twenty-two volumes. I have come to London to arrange for the issue of a similar edition through my publishers here, Messrs. Chatto [and Windus]. The volumes will include all my writings which I have revised for the purpose. The publishers are trying to make the books nice – as fine as they can. The two editions will be limited to a thousand copies each – limited, mark ye!”
“I don’t expect to read this edition deluxe myself, although you needn’t tell that to anybody else. Frankly, you know, I don’t suppose that anybody ever reads an edition deluxe. No one puts bric-a-brac to any very practical purpose. There’s some human instinct which makes a man treasure what he is not to make any use of, because everybody does not possess it.”
This Set from the Personal Library of Twain Author Kenneth Richmond Andrews
This set of Mark Twain books was originally part of the Twain library of “Nook Farm” author Kenneth Richmond Andrews. Andrews completed his Phd dissertation on Mark Twain in 1948.
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