[the TRUE first American] With Fifty-two Illustrations by Riou. New York: Scribner, Welford and Company | London: Griffith & Farran, 1872. 8 pp undated ads [G&F, in sterling]. Original orange cloth decorated in black and gilt.
First British Edition (and first edition in the English language) -- this being a copy of THE HITHERTO-UNKNOWN AMERICAN ISSUE. Griffith & Farran of London first published this science fiction tale in English in November 1871 (but post-dated it 1872); the first edition printed in America, using this same translation, has long been known to be the one by Scribner Armstrong & Co., published in late 1873 (and so dated). Griffith & Farran's first edition was priced at an astronomical seven pounds per copy -- which may be why today it is, in our experience, THE scarcest British edition of any Jules Verne book.~ The present copy is from that first edition by Griffith & Farran -- with the G&F decorative binding (erroneously claiming 53 illustrations, disagreeing with the title page's correct 52) and the G&F ads. However, what sets this copy apart is that it has a cancel title leaf, on which the publisher is "New York: Scribner, Welford and Company | London: Griffith & Farran", followed by the date 1872.~Charles Welford first went to London in 1864 to begin buying English books for Charles Scribner (as his London agent); he would arrange with a London publisher to have a small number of copies of a British novel exported to America, which copies would bear a cancel title leaf reading (in 1871) "Scribner, Welford and Company". (It would be in 1872 that "Scribner Armstrong & Co." was formed -- and "Scribner Welford & Armstrong" for books imported from London; in mid-1878 Armstrong retired, and the firms' names changed to "Charles Scribner's Sons" and "Scribner & Welford" -- the latter of which continued to import books (such as G. A. Henty's) until the International Copyright Act was passed in 1891, making such importation no longer necessary.)~One other Verne book was imported into America bearing Welford's name -- MERIDIANA, in 1873; it is estimated that as few as 50 copies of that title were imported, as it is an extremely scarce book. Inasmuch as NO other copy of the "Welford" JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH has surfaced until now, 50 copies would clearly be on the high side of any estimate, with 10 or 12 being quite possible.~This copy is bound in orange cloth (green was also used for the G&F edition, but we don't know if any "Welford" copies were bound in that color). The volume appears quite clean and bright, though it has been recased in its original binding, with newer orange cloth added in behind (in effect providing new strong joints); the original endpapers are present, and all 52 plates are present. Taves & Michaluk V002 (not citing the existence of American copies such as this). Item #12525