First US Edition, First Printing, First State. Quite rare. In publisher's half morocco, the premium and rarest edition with only 500 published, with marbled endpapers and trim richly presented. Illustrated throughout with 174 text illustrations after E. W. Kemble. Copies in the original half morocco binding are the least often found as, less than two weeks before publication, the publisher announced that he was binding 20,000 copies in cloth, another 2,500 in sheep, and 500 copies in deluxe, half morocco leather. The sheepskin editions did not fare well, while the green cloth editions are relatively plentiful. Several of these leather bound copies are in university and library collections, while others have surely been destroyed or lost, leaving precious few for private collections. Boards slightly rubbed with edge wear, corners slightly bumped and light scratch on front cover. Interior marbled boards and endpapers near fine. Prior owners’ signatures on front free endpaper. Foxing to tissue guard and Huck Finn illustration. Intermittent foxing and spotting throughout, per age. Moderate toning on pages 66-67. Binding square and tight with crisp panels. Spine and board gilt sharply present. Overall, an excellent copy of this rare and scarce 130 year old masterpiece of American literature!
ISSUE POINTS: This copy has all of the major first issue points present. In the Illustrations Table of Contents, 'Him and another man' is incorrectly listed at page 88 (instead of page 87 where it appears). Page 9 has the misprint, 'Decided,' which was later corrected to 'Decides.' Page 57 has 'with the was' on line 11 from the bottom (not “with the saw”). Page 143 is missing the 'l' in 'Col.' (which is part of the illustration at the top line of the text), and also has the broken 'b' in 'body' on line 7. The final “5” of page 155 is lacking. The final leaf is blank. This copy has all of the issue points above in first state. The illustration on page 283 is the corrected cancel. The tissue guarded front plate is second state with no cloth visible under the bust, and with the imprint of the Heliotype Printing Company and with 'Karl Gerhardt, Sc.' Present. However, the frontispiece was printed separately and inserted at random, and has no relation to the order of the printed sheets and priority. These errors were discovered and corrected during the course of printing the first edition, and collectors have always preferred the earliest, uncorrected states. Only three substantive changes were introduced after the first printing: at p. 13 the erroneous page reference '88' was changed to '87'; at p. 57 the misprint 'with the was' was corrected to 'with the saw'; and at p. 9 the misprint 'Decided' was corrected to 'Decides.' The title-page and p. 283 are cancels, as desired in cloth copies. The other known points are of no significance in determining the sequence of the printing of the sheets (MacDonnell).