Charles Dickens first edition Hard Times and signed letter to auction for £800

Forum Auctions' 26th January Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper sale has 314 fantastic literary lots but it's Lot 182 that's caught our eye.

With an estimate of £800 - £1,200 you can be the new owner of a First Edition copy of Charles Dickens Hard Times: For These Times, Dickens' 10th novel that was published in 1854.

Charles Dickens Handwritten letter to sell at Forum Auctions
Image: Forum Auctions 


The First Edition is famous for having a misnumbered page, where page 244 is mistakenly numbered page 44.

But what makes this item more special is the handwritten, and signed, letter from Charles Dickens that accompanies the book.

Dickens has one of the most flamboyant signatures around, with beautiful pen strokes flowing below the signature itself. It's one of the most unmistakable autographs of all time.

In the letter Dickens writes to Georgiana Morson informing her of his order of 1,000 marked papers.

Georgiana was known as The Matron of Urania Cottage, a home for 'fallen women' that Dicken had helped to establish and was a regular patron as he believed that reform of the ex-prostitutes was possible, and an important part of Urania Cottage was kindness and trustfulness.

Dickens once wrote:

'The design is simply, as you and I agreed, to appeal to them by means of affectionate  kindness and trustfulness... These unfortunate creatures are to be tempted to virtue.'

The book itself is described as being an attractive copy with some reinforcement tape to the spine gutter, some small paper repairs and the expected occasional area of spotting.

You can view the Lot at Forum Auctions

A similar letter from Dickens to Georgiana Morson was purchased by the Foundling Museum in London for £5,152 in 2015.

Charles Dickens memorabilia has been popular at auction in recent years with an ink well from his Gads Hill country house selling at auction for $8,000.

But beware as there are a number of fakes and forgeries. 

In December 2022 two 'handwritten' letters, purported to be from Dickens to his young lover Maria Beadnell, were withdrawn from an auction in Ireland after their authenticity had been questioned by Dr Leon Litvack, the Editor of the Charles Dickens Letters Project.

About your Author:

Adrian Roose has over 30 years’ experience covering all aspects of the rare stamp & memorabilia industry during which he has sold over £50m of unique items, helping build collections for Royalty, household name celebrities and 1,000s of collectors around the world.

Adrian was previously a Director at Stanley Gibbons, a Board Member of Stampex, and Executive Director of Paul Fraser Collectibles, PFC Auctions and JustCollecting, prior to founding The Memorabilia Club.

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