Early 20th-century finely printed edition of the story that first brought Twain fame, exceptionally scarce with his signature on the front pastedown.
"There was a feller here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of '49 or may be it was the spring of '50 I don't recollect exactly..."
Twain's first published works, as young as sixteen, were brief but hilarious retellings of events he had witnessed, a formula he would carry into his earliest professional work as a journalist out West. Invited by the famous comedian writer Artemus Ward to contribute a humorous story to one of his collections, Twain sent a piece across the country only to have it left out because it arrived too late. That piece, a riff on the well-known story in the West about a confidence man getting conned in a frog leaping contest, ended up in the newspaper NEW YORK SATURDAY PRESS instead – and took off. Newspapers across the country picked up the story and Twain became a literary sensation. In 1867, Twain published it as the leading story in his first book: in a run of only 1000 copies, it sold out within 5 days. This early 20th-century edition is unusual and exceptionally desirable signed by him.
Read more: MacDonnell, "Collecting Mark Twain: A History and Three New Paths," in Firsts Magazine.
New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1903. 8'' x 5''. Original red pictorial cloth with frog design stamped in brown, white, and green. Black and white frontispiece. , 66 pages. Signed by Twain in black ink on front pastedown. Spine sunned, a bit of rubbing to spine ends and corners, else fresh and clean: hinges strong, interior beautiful.
We work hard to meet our ethical responsibilty to describe our material accurately. All items are guaranteed as described and may be returned for any reason within 30 days. Please notify us before mailing a return.
We guarantee the authenticity of our items. All items are original (meaning not facsimiles or reproductions), first editions (i.e. first printings), unless otherwise noted. TPM is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and upholds their Code of Ethics.
All items subject to prior sale. Domestic orders over $250 and international orders over $500 ship gratis. We use USPS unless otherwise requested. Expedited, overnight, or international shipping, as well as other carriers, may carry additional costs beyond quoted rates. All orders receive tracking information and a direct contact in case of any questions.
We accept all major credit cards, Paypal, Venmo, check, money order, and bank wire. We are happy to accomodate institutional buyers' needs. Sales tax will be added to applicable purchases.
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your purchase, please contact us. We prioritize our long-term relationships far above any individual purchase, and we want you to love your item as much as we loved cataloguing it.