Great Expectations. Great Investments?
If you've read a newspaper, watched TV or just generally absorbed any news recently, you’ll have noticed that Charles Dickens has been a regular feature.
Over Christmas here in the UK, we were treated to a television adaptation of Great Expectations alongside documentaries about Dickens' unfinished works and his novels on screen.
We even had an adaptation of Dickens' famously unfinished Edwin Drood screened on the BBC with writer Gwyneth Hughes finishing the great author's final novel for him.
So, why all the interest in Charles Dickens?
Tomorrow is his 200th birthday and the world is only too keen to celebrate the life and works of one of the greatest authors to ever pick up a pen.
We've been carefully building the best selection of Dickens material that we have ever assembled to mark the special occasion and now you have the opportunity to pick up some special items.
We've also linked up with the Charles Dickens Fellowship to display a selection of material at an exhibition at Eastgate House, Rochester, Kent between the 6th and 11th February.
Dickens material is big business and has been for a few years now. 2008 saw the largest collection of Charles Dickens' works sold for nearly £2 million.
And individual sales have been equally as staggering.
In 2009, Christie's sold a pre-publication presentation copy of A Christmas Carol inscribed by Dickens for $290,500.
A year later, another special first edition of one of the classic Christmas story sold for £181,250 at a Sotheby's auction in London.
And last year, a first edition of Oliver Twist, containing an inscription by Dickens to fellow novelist William Ainsworth, sold for $229,000 at Christie's.
But it’s not just the first edition books that are realising the big sums at auction. A single autograph manuscript leaf from the Pickwick Papers sold for $68,500 just a few months ago.
And if you're more interested in some more let’s say "interesting" Dickens material, one of his chairs sold for £80,000 a few years ago and the collar of his beloved dog was snapped up for over $11,950.
Now is the time to invest.
Charles Dickens material has all the ingredients for a solid investment:
The name "Charles Dickens" will last. In the centuries to come your great great grandchildren will be still be reading Charles Dickens stories.
Modern commentators have described Dickens as "the man who invented Christmas" in terms of the trimmings that surround the religious holiday with his depictions of the festive period being a blueprint for generations to come.
His work has been described as 'timeless' and today that same work and the man himself can be described as a potentially great investment.
According to the Fraser's Autograph 100 Index, Charles Dickens material has shown growth in value of over 400% in little over a decade.
But it almost seems a shame to focus on the coldness of the figures when it comes to talking about Charles Dickens. We've had a lot of people invest or just straight purchase Dickens items for the romance of it.
You may have read him during your childhood, or count many of his titles amongst your all time favourite books. Some people just want to connect to the great author and see memorabilia as a way to get close in a way that they never thought possible.
A lot of people stare in disbelief when we show them a selection of Charles Dickens items we have available for sale. Whether it is a signed first edition or a simple page carrying his elegant signature, Dickens still has the power to amaze.
A born entertainer (he actually started performing, carrying out public readings), Dickens would on request pen beautiful quotations of his own novels, sign them and give them away.
These quotations rarely appear on sale and are among the most desirable autograph material from him.
But we have one for you today and it is truly special.
If you're a Dickens fan, you’ll recognise this excerpt:
No, I lay in my basket, and my mother lay in her bed; but Betsey Trotwood Copperfield was for ever in the land of dreams and shadows, the tremendous region whence I had lately travelled; and the light upon the window of our room shone out upon the earthly bourne of all such travelers, and the mound above the ashes and the dust that once was he, without whom I had never been.
- David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
This is the final sentence of Chapter One of 'David Copperfield' handwritten and signed by Charles Dickens.
David Copperfield is the novel considered to be the most autobiographical of all Dickens' works and he referred to it as his "favourite child".
This gives you a chance to get closer to Charles Dickens than you probably ever thought possible and for just £27,500, this seems like a snip when you consider the prices that Dickens material as been selling for.
And remember those signed first editions that have been selling for six figure sums? Well, how would you like one for £27,500
This is a signed first edition, (two volumes) of Dickens's 'American Notes: For General Circulation' (1842).
Dickens has signed and inscribed this copy to Daniel Maclise (1806-1870), an Irish artist who moved to London in 1827 to study at the Royal Academy, and whose successful exhibitions there lead to him becoming a highly sought after Victorian artist.
Although 'American Notes' contains no illustrations, Maclise's connection with the book is a close one as it is based upon letters sent to Maclise (and other close friends) from America during his first tour of the country between January and June 1842, giving his impressions of the places he visited and their people.
He is particularly critical of the American press, slavery and the sanitary conditions of American cities, with particular scorn reserved for the practice of spitting in public.
Signed and inscribed by Dickens on the half title "Daniel Maclise / From his friend / Charles Dickens [characteristic paraph] / Eighteenth October 1842", this can be yours for £27,500.
Call my investment team on 0845 026 7170 (UK) or
+44 (0) 1481 708 277 (Int) if you're interested in either of these interesting pieces. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The investment potential of the right Charles Dickens memorabilia is undeniable, but investing in autographs is not new and it is not confined to Charles Dickens material.
Autograph collecting gives you the opportunity to hold history in your hands - Albert Einstein writing about the theory of relativity, Elizabeth I discussing the Armada, handwritten lyrics with corrections that have become the anthems of our time, documents of surrender, resignation and even abdication, movements in history captured on paper. You can own some truly incredible items.
Autograph collecting is open to anyone who has an interest in some form of history, human endeavour or achievement.
Whether you are looking for an investment or a collection that is personal to you, the material is out there. From signed royal proclamations to Apollo 11 spacesuits, you’ll be amazed what you can collect.
Why not start with Charles Dickens?
Call my investment team on 0845 026 7170 (UK) or +44 (0) 1481 708 277 (Int) if you're interested. Alternatively, email email@example.com.