or, The Marvellous and Exciting Adventures of Pierre Aronnax... Translated from the French. One Hundred and Ten Illustrations. (Edition of James R. Osgood & Co.) Sold Only by Subscription. Boston: Geo. M. Smith & Co., 1873. Originial green cloth decorated in gilt and black, all page edges gilt.
First American Edition, second and usual "Smith" issue, of Verne's famous tale of Captain Nemo and the submarine Nautilus. Considerable confusion surrounds the relationship of the two Boston 1873 title pages that can appear in this title -- the James R. Osgood & Company title page, and this usual Geo. M. Smith & Co. one (which refers to the Osgood one and indicates "sold by subscription only"). The bindings of the two are nearly identical (the Osgood binding reads "...UNDER THE SEA" and bears a jellyfish in the center of the front cover, whereas the Smith binding reads "...UNDER THE SEAS" and has Captain Nemo using a sextant on the front cover). Clearly the Osgood one is a bit earlier and is much scarcer: supposedly only about fifteen copies were known to exist, but we have handled more than a dozen of them over the past 15 years (all between $12,000 and $27,500), so our guess would be more like thirty to fifty. One theory is that the Osgood title page may have designated the subscription issue, and that the Smith one, being much less scarce, must have designated the subsequent trade issue. Another possibility is that most of the Osgood edition was consumed by a Boston fire.~This copy has all page edges gilt -- a deluxe feature for which the original buyer paid extra; by far the majority of copies does not have all edges gilt. On the final page of text, there is no "THE END" (some copies have it, some have it partially, and some do not have it at all; this is not an "issue point" as is sometimes claimed, but merely a case of type slippage during a single print run, with no bearing upon which copies were actually first to reach the public).~As for condition, this is a bright, nearly fine copy (the very slightest of rubbing at the extremities, a touch of foxing on only the first few and last few leaves). Taves & Michaluk V006; Myers 56. Item #12308