The Official Biography: SIGNED FIRST ENGLISH EDITION Set
-Signed by Randolph Churchill, Clementine Churchill and Martin Gilbert-
First English Edition Set
William Heinemann, Ltd. [London]
8vo (24 volumes)
Hardcover (with Dust Jackets) [Red cloth]
Item Number: 201187
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This First English edition set, in dust jackets, is one of the more extraordinary examples of the Official Biography that we have ever encountered; signed in sequence by Randolph Churchill, Clementine Churchill and Martin Gilbert.
Volumes I and II are inscribed and signed on the title pages by Randolph Churchill to the Hollywood film star Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (whose bookplates appear on the front pastedowns). The inscription in Volume I reads: “Inscribed for Douglas Fairbanks by Randolph S. Churchill, Nov. 66.” The inscription in Volume II reads: “Inscribed for Douglas Williams [sic] by Randolph S. Churchill” (Randolph may well have been in his cups).
Volumes III-V are each signed in ink on the front free endpapers by Clementine Churchill: “Inscribed by Clementine Spencer Churchill.” (The words: “April – 92 age” have been jotted just above the inscription in Volume IV, which dates the signature to 1977. Clementine Churchill was born on April 1, 1885 and died on December 12, 1977 at the age of 92.) Though the hand is shaky, the fact that Clementine did indeed sign volumes of the Official Biography is quite surprising. These may, in fact, be unique. Finally, Volume VII has been neatly signed in ink on the title page: “Martin Gilbert.”
All volumes are English First editions in correct dust jackets, as issued. The dust jackets for MAIN Volumes I-IV are lightly edge-worn with some chipping and shelf-wear, but they are all unfaded and unclipped. The remaining MAIN Volume jackets are virtually mint; unclipped, save for Volume VI, which is price-clipped. The contents of Volumes V-VIII are mint. The contents of Volumes I-IV do exhibit varying degrees of wear and age, with some scuffing to the prelims, some fading to the topstains, a whisper of scattered foxing to the fore-edges of Volumes I and II, paper clip shadows on the signature page of Volume III, and a professionally repaired front hinge break in Volume IV.
All COMPANION Volume jackets are in very good condition, with bright faces and unfaded spines; unclipped, save for Volume I Part 1, Volume III Part 2 and Volume IV Parts 1-3, which are price-clipped.
Overall, this is a first class set in terms of condition and a singular rarity in terms of signatures; quite possibly beyond compare.