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Twain | Mark

Sketches By Mark Twain

Pirated Edition


SKU: 1178 Category:


Sketches By Mark Twain, signed by Mark Twain. This book is from the personal collection of actor Robin Williams.

Twelvemo, viii, 9-319pp. Maroon cloth boards, title stamped in gilt on spine and cover. Overall rubbed, some fraying at edges, loose joints, but reinforced. Previous owners’ bookplates affixed to front endpaper, verso of front free endpaper and rear pastedown. Library stamps on front pastedown and copyright page. House in attractive clamshell case, cloth boards, red morocco spine, title in gilt on spine with raised bands and decorative gilt.

Inscription on front free endpaper reads: “This book was published in 1880 – one year before entered so it says – see title page – It means that the thieves never entered it at all does it not?” Inscribed by author Mark Twain: “Pirated edition, I suppose! Mark Twain.” Most recently from the collection of actor and comedian Robin Williams. (BAL 3624) An incredible association copy.

This scarce “Pirated Edition” was originally obtained by Reverend L.M. Powers of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Reverend Powers inscribed the note found on the front free papers to Mr. Clemens, who replied “Pirated Edition, I suppose!”

Provenance: First sold at auction in 1911, from “A Remarkable Collection of Association Copies and First Editions formed by the Rev. L.M. Powers.” Purchased by William F. Gable, with additional ownership notations from St. Joseph’s Seminary and later the library of Mary C. Young. From the collection of actor and comedian, Robin Williams, sold at Sotheby’s in 2018.

The “Pirated Edition” was a reference to a lawsuit filed by Clemens against Charles Belford in 1882. Clemens argued that Belford copied the original manuscripts and published his Canadian Edition of Sketches without paying royalties to Twain. Clemens lost the suit.

Additional information

Location Published



Belfords, Clarke & Co.


Pirated Edition

Date Published

1880 [But 1881]




Very Good


Twain | Mark