Charles Dickens Rare Book: A Christmas Carol

by AndreChevalier on December 22, 2011 · Rare Book Education, Rare English Literature

A rare first edition of the Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol

What do Christmas and rare vintage books have in common?  The answer is …the famous first edition of the Charles Dickens book – A Christmas Carol.  This immortal novel written by Charles Dickens is easily one of the most loved Christmas stories ever written, while the scarcity of its first edition has given some fortunate book collectors a holiday to celebrate.

Very few people on this planet have never heard of the renowned Charles Dickens or of his A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens was born at Landport, UK, on February 7th, 1812. After facing financial difficulties Dickens’ family moved to London in 1822. Shortly afterwards, in 1824, the family sent the then 12-year old Charles to a boarding house.  However, Dickens soon left school to work 10 hours a day to support his struggling family.  The harsh and cruel working conditions that Dickens had to face, greatly affected him. As a result he strove to make the injustice of these unacceptable and inhuman working conditions clear through his work to inspire the change towards a better working life.

Charles Dickens wrote his first story, A Dinner at Poplar Walk, in 1833 which he soon followed with Oliver Twist between the years 1837-39, Nicholas Nickleby between1838-39, and many others. From 1833 all the way up to his death on June 9, 1870, Dickens wrote a great deal of novels and saw most of his works get published.

The famous novella A Christmas Carol was first published by Chapman and Hall on December 19th 1843. The book was written during depressing times in England, where the Christmas spirit had nearly been forgotten by many.  Dickens hoped to rekindle the true Christmas spirit through the novel, with the portrayal of the cynical and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge and the changes he transitioned from in Christmases of his past, present and future.

Dickens started writing the novel, A Christmas Carol, in October 1843 and within six weeks, it was completed. Despite numerous obstacles with the book’s publication process, it was completed two days prior to its scheduled release date of December 19, 1943. The published book was an object of beauty, as it was bound in red cloth and filled with illustrations by John Leech. The book was priced at a scant 5 shillings, and was a raging success. The 6000 copies of the first edition actually ran out by Christmas Eve. By May of 1844 the book was already in its 7th edition, with increasing demand from the United States and receiving great reviews in the New York Times.

For a book collector, the first edition of the book is the ultimate possession to seek after.  As expected pricing for first editions of this famous book is no bargain. Two copies of the first edition were sold in an auction in 2005 for the price of 15,000 USD. Surprisingly, neither of the two copies was in a very good condition. Currently, copies of this remarkable book are being sold by antiquarian and rare book sellers for anywhere from 19,000 to 40,000 USD depending on condition, unique attributes, seller geographic location, and so forth.

Inscribed presentation copies are reaching an even higher price range.  In 1997 a copy which was inscribed to the British humorist and poet Thomas Hood, was sold for 50,000 USD.  A year later, in 1998, a first edition copy inscribed to Walter Savage Landor, an English writer and poet, was sold for the astronomical amount of 160,000.The big difference in price is justified by the factors of condition and importance of association. More recently, a year ago, on October 28 2010, at a Sotheby’s auction in London UK, another copy sold at the astounding price of 181,250 GBP or 282,408.  This copy was inscribed to Dickens’ good friend William Macready, a known British actor, and was dated and signed on New Year’s Day of 1844.  This represents a 75% jump, within a 12 year timeframe from the previous sale of the comparable copy.

In the end, A Christmas Carol, has proven that a 5 shilling ( equivalent of 25 USD in today’s money ) investment in a rare and extraordinary legendary vintage book, can be worth between 20-40K USD, while an inscribed copy can reach 280K USD or more. But even more importantly, Charles Dickens has proven through the character of Ebenezer Scrooge that the true Christmas spirit is reached by an act of giving.


About the author

Article by Andre Chevalier. You can connect with Andre Chevalier on Andre+

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Lillie M Sneed September 15, 2023 at 3:08 pm

I have a Riverside Literature Series edition of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, with a sketch of the author, copyright 1913 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Does anyone know where I would get this book appraised?


Dianne November 20, 2021 at 9:42 pm

I have a copy of a book Christmas Carol / Dickens / Dean and Son Limited , London, EC but no date. On the back page it also has The Riverside Press Limited Edinburgh. One page with a picture of Charles Dickens and the edge of the vary in length with the edges being brown and yellowing as well as rough edges. No tears and no markings visible other than age. I done a lot of searching through various sites but I’ve only seem one other book which looks like the one I have but it was sold and made no hints to what it was sold for. I too am looking for a price if possible.


Matthew Fontannaz September 29, 2021 at 8:58 am

I have a perfect condition padded green hardcover copy of “A Christmas Carol” By Charles Dickens. It is dated 1843, has marbled end pages and gilded-edge pages. The Chapman and Hall, London first edition has a red and blue title page and “STAVE I” in roman numerals on page 1. Is there a market for this book?


Virginia wiggs February 7, 2021 at 3:38 am

Hello I have a set of books I need to know what their valu is Charles Dicken’s Christmas collector’s edition can you please know how much they maybe worth Thank you


Linda Bell June 19, 2020 at 10:27 pm

I have a perfect condition padded green hardcover copy of “A Christmas Carol” By Charles Dickens. It is dated 1843, has marbles end pages and gilt edged pages. It appears to never have been read. Is there a market for this and any idea which printing run it could be?


Admin June 25, 2020 at 12:46 am

The Chapman and Hall, London first edition has red and blue title and “STAVE I” on page 1.


Walter Gersitz February 12, 2021 at 3:17 am

I would be interested in the purchase of your book, A Christmas Carol.
Any idea what you would be asking for it?
This story is my very favorite and would like to share it with my grandchildren.
Thank you for your consideration and have a blessed evening.


Jenny April 15, 2020 at 9:19 am

Hi, I have a book called Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It says published by Award Books Inc. December 1843 With a preface written by C.D.
It is a red leatherette cover with the wording in a rectangular type scroll.
Any idea of it’s possible value please. It is in very good order.


John Catt January 10, 2020 at 12:39 am

I have a Charles Dickens Christmas Carol inscribed inside cover Esther Rosman it says the lake English classics the wreck of the golden Mary double dick the cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens copyright 1906 by Scott Foresman and Company what is this book worth


Luann Watson December 1, 2019 at 7:26 pm

I have a old copy of ‘Christmas Carol’ published by Hurst & Company New York. It has no publishing date but has a note in it dated 1916. The cover is worn and it has pink roses on the cover. Does anyone have any information about this book and the year it was published. The Publishers page looks like it was stamped. The chapters are titled Stave one, Stave two and so forth. Please let me know if you have any information on this book. Thank you


Rob October 26, 2018 at 7:47 pm

I have a dickens christmas carol book, limited edition of only 150, published by Bigelow brown of new york, any idea of value?


Larry brooks November 1, 2019 at 2:39 am

I too have the same book. 150 books published by bigelo and brown and I believe in 1936 or 1937.. not illustrated [email protected] would appricate any information


john BOSSERT September 18, 2018 at 2:43 am

I have a excellent ,Maynard’s English Classic Series 1914, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ,Published by Charles Merrill Co ,NY 570-350-3552


Tonya Stubbins April 9, 2018 at 5:29 am

I have a small (about the size of your hand)hardback ,green book of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Its published by The Lake English Classics and Scott, Foresman and Co. They seemed to have made a variety of Dickens books for school use. This one includes in the Christmas Carol with 3 stories included. The Wreck of The Golden Mary, Richard Doubledick, The Cricket On The Hearth. And also mentions , edited for school use by, Edmund Kemper Broadus, A. M. 1907 in Chicago
Scott, Foreman and Co. Any information on this book would be extremely helpful. Thank you


GAIL January 28, 2018 at 5:06 am

I have a book, don”t need to know if it has any monetary worth ,but would like to know if any info is out there,Belonged to my great grandmother. so Electic school readings, Christmas stories, by Charles Dickens published 1904 by American Book Company wp2


Mary December 28, 2017 at 11:15 pm

Hi I have a Charles Dickens 1863 first edition titled “Christmas Books” with 5 pen and ink original drawings. We think it was by Dickens’ illustrator. 1/3 of the spine leather binding is missing.
Any advice?


John D Yates August 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Hello Folks,
I have a very nice copy of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” This book fits in it’s box , published by the Dodge Publishing Company of New York. I believe the book was published in 1915. I don’t find any other copies of this book anywhere? Does anyone know what it’s value is?


Lauren Renee Potter July 26, 2017 at 3:01 am

I have a 1909 hard back copy from Micmillans pockets classics of Dickens a Christmas Carol. Any information about it would be super. Thank you.


John Fieser June 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm

I have a very old small hard back cover of “A Christmas Carol” book by Charles Dickens that pre-dates 1897. Illustrated by Frederick Simpson Coburn, published by “The Platt & Peck Co.” 226 pages with 31 illustrations. The cover has an illustration of Tiny Tim walking with who I believe is either Kratchit or Scrooge holding a bouquet of flowers. No publishing date, but based on what’s written on the inside, “Ruby from Nell 1896”, it must be at least that old if not older. I searched the Internet for the book with that cover and couldn’t find one, so I’m thinking that it might be a rare find. It’s a little beat up, but still usable. I’m wondering if it IS rare and if so, just how rare and its approximate worth to a collector.


Hillary gruener June 5, 2017 at 2:57 pm

We have a Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, tenth edition, published in 1844. Great condition. How much do you think it’s worth?


Hillary gruener June 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm

It’s also a bright red hard cover with gold writing.


Paula May 2, 2017 at 2:32 pm

I have Huckleberry Finn vintage book but no year of edition on it. How do I find that?


kaylee February 12, 2017 at 9:39 pm

Hi I have a Roycroft 1902 A Christmas Carol signed by Elbert Hubbard # 13 of 100 copies.
The spine has never been fully opened, it is still in the original box with tissue and tissue over the picture of Dickens. It is red Moroccan leather and marble. The box is of matching marble. Was wondering what it is worth. Saw some for sale but they had wear for $1750.00 and they did not come with the box.


Sara Shaner February 9, 2017 at 10:39 pm

I jave a 1902 not 1912 green suade cover all intact


Marla Tessmer November 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm

I have “A Christmas Carol” 1893 Riverside Literature Series Number 57. Paperback?


sandy dawson November 29, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I have a book y CharlesE MMaynards EnglishClassic Series Christmas Carol Dickens DickensNew York Harles E Merrill Co. Copyright 1910 by Charles Merrill Co. Is this important to open and does it have any value?


HARVEY GLIDDEN September 22, 2021 at 11:21 pm



Sharon Gillespie November 4, 2016 at 11:45 pm

I have a hard back copy of Christmas Carol copyright 1901 by H. m. Caldwell Co.
Decent shape is it worth anything?


Chris September 16, 2016 at 10:29 pm

I have a #57 Riverside Literature Series, “A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens” with a Biographical sketch and notes and was loos to be a signature. It is a paperback Houghton Mufflin company copyrighted in 1893 and again in 1913.

Would this be worth anything?


Sara Shaner August 3, 2016 at 3:04 am

1902 green suede a christmas carol by charles dickens also
A sweet girl graduate by l.t. meade new york hurst and company book no date
The young mckinley by hezekiah butterworth 1905&
the story of the liberty bell by wayne whipple 1910
Could you give me.any info on any of these books I wouldon’t appreciate it


Donna May 10, 2016 at 7:38 pm

I have 2 book by Charles Dickens –Beige A Christmas Carol. One dated 1914, the other 1893. Are they worth anything? Thank you.


Donna May 10, 2016 at 7:36 pm

I have two beige paperback books A Christmas Carol. One dated 1914 and the other 1893. Are they worth money. Thank you


Ricky Nash February 16, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Hi, I have red leatherette 4*7 book Christmas Carol Charles Dickens,family classics volume 7 published by Award Books NY December 1843. Is this any value any help be appreciated


Donald Spellman June 13, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Please send me the value of this red leatherette 4*7 published by Award books 1843.


Linda Murray January 19, 2016 at 7:14 pm

Also the book is 6 1/4 long and 4 inches wide. Pocket book.


Linda Murray January 19, 2016 at 7:13 pm

I have a brown suede copy with a small purple square in the middle of the book with a Christmas Carol printed on it. It shows copyright in 1932 by Walter J. Black, Inc printed in the USA. Can someone tell me if this is worth anything. Thanks for your time.

Linda M


Dave h December 19, 2015 at 9:11 am

I have a green suede copy w silver embossed cover of holly and ivy. Only date is 1843 in roman numerals. 4 colored pics and 4 black and white. Red and blue type on inside title page. Two pages of Dickens advertisements after page 166. Help appreciated!


Courtney Johnson August 13, 2015 at 3:18 am

Hello there I have 6 Charles Dickens pictures that are all different people and are not the Christmas carol. They look original and have the writing on the back. On the front right on the bottom of each has a name on it. Are these worth anything? Any help would be great.
Thank you
Courtney Johnson


Garnet Burns August 4, 2015 at 2:54 pm

We have a very small ( 2.75 “x 4 ” approx.) Orange suede bound copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol by a company called Ward Lock & CO, Limited London, Melbourne and Toronto – Preface C.D 1843 – 192 Pages – Gold Lined Pages – Gold Stamped on Spine.
Any information on this or a worth of value ?
Thank You
Garnet Burns


Val Dore July 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm

We have a very small ( 2.5 “x 3 ” approx.) brown suede bound copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol by a company called Small Book Company of New York
There is no date of publication at all. Just wondering how rare this might be – we can’t seem to find any information on the net about it. Thanks


Laurie April 21, 2015 at 10:26 pm

My father has a Vest-Pocket series book, “A Christmas Carol”, illustrated, copyright 1868. It’s green, published by James R. Osgood & Co., Boston. Copyright 1876 by Ticknor & Fields. University Press, Welch, Bigelow & Co., Cambridge. How can I find out its worth? Thanks.


Lindsay February 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm

I have a ‘A Christmas Carol’ book, it says it’s a pocket edition, has no date in it. It is a navy blue and just has the title simply written on the front. I also have the original box sleeve it slides in. It’s been in the family as long as I can remember and I am having trouble finding any info on it. Anything you might know would be appreciated!


jessica October 31, 2014 at 4:03 am

I have come across a christmas carol. Blue hard cover. No pictures. The name bordeaus and lindsay todd damon, a.b are names listed. It seems like it was a study guide? No date when it was published. Any info would be great


Admin November 22, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Lake English Classics, general editor perhaps.


david huskisson July 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I also have the 1902 green A Christmas Carol with tissue paper still intact over pictures. was wondering if its worth keeping?


DI April 5, 2014 at 5:32 pm

We have 1902 green suede copy of A Christmas Carol with tissue paper still intact over pictures. Can anyone tell me if this book has any value?


Renee R. Johnson March 28, 2023 at 1:32 am

Sir, I have A Copy wright copy 1902, by Elbert Hubbard, The RoyCroft Shop Of East Aurora , N.Y. MCMII. This is the green leather volume of “A Christmas Carol”, by Charles Dickens. Pages are in excellant condition for it’s age the onion skin is still intake. First page states STAVE ONE. I would like to sell. What is it’s worth?


joa April 4, 2014 at 1:00 am

I have a red hard cover A CHRISTMAS CAROL in prose by Charles Dickens illustrations by John Leech
Chapman & Hall,186, Strand
Could you tell me what it is worth
thank you Joan


Admin April 6, 2014 at 12:26 am

The book was published in 1843 – MDCCCXLIII


Laura April 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm

I have come across a Red Cover, Gold Printed “A Cristmas Carol” Book…Illustrated bu A.C. Michael… It appears to be ver old…. I can find no publishing date… There is still tissue paper over the photograph in lays on some of the pages…
Is this worth anything????

Thank You…


Admin April 2, 2014 at 1:45 am

The Hodder & Stoughton publication of “A Christmas Carol” published circa 1910-20, is selling around $50-$100.


Dale Sanderson February 17, 2014 at 1:53 am

I have a pocket size book “Christmas with dickens” in a brown leather cover, illustrated by Chas pears. I think published by London & Glasgow clear type press. Any thoughts on what the value would be. Also has date given as gift as June 1920. Thank you.


Murven Sears December 11, 2018 at 4:24 am

I am interested in a pocket sized version. How much are you asking if I may inquire.

Thank you,

Murv Sears


Margaret Hans December 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Hello, I have a 1920 hard-cover copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with red cover and gold edges on the pages. Inside, there is a note, saying that it is a reproduction by Atlantic Monthly Press, Boston. Some of the illustrations are in color, and are by John Leech. Can you please tell me if this edition has any value?

Thank you!


Admin December 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

You are probably referring to the Charles E. Lauriat edition with four full page color illustrations after Leech. Estimated value $30-$75.


Nelson July 23, 2013 at 11:56 pm

We have a suede Charles Dickens book titled – A Christmas Carol – The Roycroft Shop East Aurora New York – Copyright 1902 – Elbert Hubbard
Any information would be interesting ! Thank-you


Admin July 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Elbert Hubbard influenced by the ideas of William Morris formed part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the USA. by creating a reformist community of craft workers and artists in the village of East Aurora, Erie County, New York. The book is quite common.


Nelson July 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm

We have two Charles Dickens books – Barnaby Rudge 1868- D. Appleton and Company &
Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens – 1868 – D. Appleton and Company as well
Any information would be interesting – thank-you !


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