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The Best of Sherlock Holmes
By Randall Stock, March 4, 2016
Arthur Conan Doyle signed and dated his manuscript for the final story in The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard. In private hands for more than 90 years, the manuscript emerged for sale in 2016.
Headed on first page as "VIII | How the Brigadier played for a Kingdom." Signed at end as "A Conan Doyle | Belvedere Hotel | Davos Platz | May 31/95."
Conan Doyle's original autograph manuscript is written in ink on 23 pages, folio. It includes revisions and corrections. See below for a photo of the manuscript's first page.
It is bound together with three other Brigadier Gerard manuscripts that were also written and published in 1895. The overall volume includes the bookplate of Herbert Foster Gunnison and a presentation inscription from Irving Bacheller to Gunnison. For details and a photo, see the bound manuscript.
One of five Brigadier Gerard manuscripts offered in 2016 by James S. Jaffe Rare Books of New York.
After finishing his first Gerard story, Conan Doyle decided to write an entire series featuring Brigadier Etienne Gerard. These later stories appeared under the series title "The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard," and used Roman numerals starting with "I" despite the prior publication of the first tale. Thus, the eighth published Gerard story, "How the Brigadier Played for a Kingdom," carried a series number of "VII" in the December 1895 Strand Magazine.
Unlike the other manuscripts bound in this volume, this one lacks the series title and carries an "VIII" at the top of the first page, matching the actual number of publication. It is dated 31 May 1895.
This tale was collected in The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard (1896) along with seven other Gerard stories.
For details about how the series began, see my page on "The Medal of Brigadier Gerard."
See also this page with more Brigadier Gerard publishing history.
Arthur Conan Doyle. Irving Bacheller (from inscription). Herbert Foster Gunnison. By descent from Gunnison. Offered by James S. Jaffe Rare Books in 2016.
More about Bacheller and Gunnison.
Top of first page of Conan Doyle manuscript for "How the Brigadier Played for a Kingdom"
The manuscript description (above) has additional information.
Photos courtesy of James S. Jaffe Rare Books
My thanks to James Jaffe for additional details and photos of the manuscript.
The first version of this report appeared March 4, 2016.
James S. Jaffe sale of five Brigadier Gerard manuscripts
Checklist of non-Sherlockian Conan Doyle Manuscripts
Census of Sherlock Holmes Manuscripts
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