Over these twelve days of “Twelvetide” we are sharing 12 highlights from our new 40th Anniversary catalogue. It seems worth mentioning, halfway through this “Twelvetide” tour, that our catalogue features a copy of the rarest Churchill book in the world. 


(The Rarest of Them All) 

In fact, this first edition of FOR FREE TRADE, has been a fixture of our catalogues for some time now. It is one of approximately 15-20 copies that are accounted for today, mostly in research collections. It is valuable, and we enjoy having it (though it is for sale).

FOR FREE TRADE has always been the holy grail of Churchill book collecting, in tandem with another rare volume entitled MR. BRODRICK’S ARMY. A small, 136-page, softcover collection of nine speeches on the title subject delivered by Winston Churchill as a 31-year-old MP for Manchester, FOR FREE TRADE was published in 1906 by Arthur L. Humphreys, General Manager of Hatchard’s, the renowned London bookshop that still stands at number 187 Piccadilly. Hatchard’s had a long history even then as a publisher of pamphlets, both political and otherwise, including Churchill’s earlier 1903 speech compendium, the aforementioned MR. BRODRICK’S ARMY. Identical in format to BRODRICK and just as precious, FOR FREE TRADE was produced in very small numbers, bound in unprepossessing red printed wraps that did not age well. The surviving handful of copies today constitute the stuff of collectors’ dreams. Most have received archival conservation of some kind. (This means they have been repaired. The unofficial technical term is “molested.”) Many have been rebound. Ours is uniquely “unmolested.” It remains as it was issued, a most precious of Churchillian prize.

More tomorrow.