Translated into English by Constance Garnett, as were so many other Russian classics, and published by Heinemann, it did not appear until 1912 – over 30 years after the story’s first appearance in Russky Viestnik [The Russian Messenger] in 1879-80.
The publisher’s red, blind-stamped cloth binding is far from pristine but it is clean internally and would appear to be only the second copy recorded at auction – the previous one being seen in 1939. It sold for a record $9000 (£7200) in a sale on November 10 last.
A second rare outing for a first English language edition of a Dostoevsky novel, Crime and Punishment, is scheduled for a Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium) sale of April 5-6.
A couple of 1886, first US editions show up in auction records, one of which made $9500 at Swann last year, but the South Cerney saleroom has a Vizetelly of London edition of that same year. Just one other is recorded at auction – and that too in the Swann rooms – but it was way back in 1991 that it sold at $1100.
The Dominic Winter copy, found by the vendor in a job lot of books acquired elsewhere at auction for £14, carries an estimate of £2000-3000.