Beeton's Christmas Annual

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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Beeton's Christmas Annual (1887)

Beeton's Christmas Annual was a paperback magazine printed in England yearly between 1860 and 1898, founded by Samuel Orchart Beeton, and sold to publisher Ward, Lock & Co..

The magazine is wellknown for having published, in november 1887, the first Conan Doyle's story introducing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: A Study in Scarlet. It is a very rare issue, considered as a master piece in a sherlockian collection, which was sold for $156,000[1] at Sotheby's on 21 june 2007, estimated 75,000-125,000 USD (Auction N08330).

As for previous novels the manuscript experienced many rejects from publishers. At last, Ward, Lock & Co. accepted and offered £25 for the copyright. Conan Doyle wrote back to ask for a percentage on sales. Here is the publisher's answer of 2 november 1886:

Dear Sir,
In reply to your letter of yesterday's date we regret to say that we shall be unable to allow you to retain a percentage on the sale of your work as it might give rise to some confusion. The tale may have to be inserted together with some other in one of our annuals, therefore we must adhere to our original offer of £25 for the complete copyright.
We are, dear Sir,
Yours truly,
Ward, Lock & Co.

Conan Doyle in Beeton's Christmas Annual