Alice's own Looking Glass worth $150k

Charles Dodgson's works are thought to be the third most quoted texts in Western conversation. He is better known by his pen name of Lewis Carroll.

Now Profiles in History are selling first editions and memorabilia associated with his books, such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass.

Highlights of the sale include an original John Tenniel drawing of the Gryphon from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Tenniel's classic pencil sketches had to be drawn to precise dimensions which Carroll specified. This piece is expected to sell for $60,000-80,000.

John Teniel Lewis Carroll Alice Gryphon
John Tenniel's drawing of a Gryphon

A rare presentation first edition copy of The Nursery Alice, signed by 'L Dodgson' (Lewis Carroll's sister) for 'Vivian', is expected to sell for $40,000-60,000. Carroll had rejected the design as the pictures were too gaudy.

However, Carroll based his classic works Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass around a real girl: Alice Liddell, and the top lot is strongly expected to be her own copy of Alice through the Looking Glass.

The book is rare enough as it is: three copies only were given the red binding which was used for the presentation copies which Carroll requested, but this one is signed Alice Pleasance Liddell, with an acrostic poem spelling out her name concealed at the back of the book.

Lewis Carroll Alice Through The Looking Glass Liddell
Alice's Alice Through The Looking Glass
Alice Through The Looking Glass Signature Liddell signature

It is expected to sell for $100,000-150,000, whilst a first edition copy of Alice Through the Looking Glass with extra illustrations by John Tenniel, marked with his monogram, is valued at $40,000-60,000.

The history of the manuscript of 'Alice's Adventures Underground' (which became Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) shows the significance attached to Carroll's works in the Western world:

Alice sold the text shortly before her death in 1928, and it was bought by an American for the equivalent of $75,000.

Some years later a group of American bibliophiles banded together to re-acquire the manuscript and present it to the British nation, in gratitude to "a noble people who held Hitler at bay for a long period single-handed". It is now in the British Library.

The sale takes place in Calabasas Hills, California on December 16.


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