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Beatrix Potter

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Potter, Beatrix

Rare books by Beatrix Potter, including first editions and finely bound copies.

As a child, Beatrix Potter (1866–1943) was fascinated by nature, using her considerable artistic talent to paint animal and plants. In 1893 she sent a sequence of illustrated letters about a naughty rabbit to the children of her former governess, and their delight led her to submit the story for publication. Although it was turned down, she had 250 copies published privately in December 1901 for distribution to friends. Simply titled Peter Rabbit and illustrated with line drawings, the book’s popularity was such that another printing of 200 copies was required by February 1902, and in the same year Frederick Warne & Co. agreed to publish it with new colour illustrations. Eight thousand copies of this first trade edition were printed in October 1902, to be followed by a further 21 storybooks, all illustrated by the author.

Beatrix Potter showed an avid interest in the design of her books, and herself designed deluxe bindings for her books, which would be sold at a higher price than the regular trade edition at the time and still command a premium from collectors today.

Reprints of Beatrix Potter's works usually resemble the original first editions in almost every detail, and can be hard to distinguish from them. The key points to look for are:

(a) the first editions are usually dated in the imprint at the foot of the title page, on the front (recto) of the leaf. The copyright date on the back (verso) will show the first date of publication, but this alone is not indicative of first edition status. Later printings have no date in the imprint.

(b) her publisher Frederick Warne became a limited company in 1917, after the great majority of her best-known books had been first published. Therefore, most books with "Limited" or "Ltd" in the company name, either in the imprint or on the front cover, are published in or after 1917 and are reprints.

(c) any edition bearing an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) was issued after 1967.

With one or two exceptions, only first edition, first impressions, in the original publisher's bindings have significant value.

Read our blog post about first editions of Peter Rabbit.

Rare books by Beatrix Potter, including first editions and finely bound copies.

As a child, Beatrix Potter (1866–1943) was fascinated by nature, using her considerable artistic talent to paint animal and plants. In 1893 she sent a sequence of illustrated letters about a naughty rabbit to the children of her former governess, and their delight led her to submit the story for publication. Although it was turned down, she had 250 copies published privately in December 1901 for distribution to friends. Simply titled Peter Rabbit and illustrated with line drawings, the book’s popularity was such that another printing of 200 copies was required by February 1902, and in the same year Frederick Warne & Co. agreed to publish it with new colour illustrations. Eight thousand copies of this first trade edition were printed in October 1902, to be followed by a further 21 storybooks, all illustrated by the author.

Beatrix Potter showed an avid interest in the design of her books, and herself designed deluxe bindings for her books, which would be sold at a higher price than the regular trade edition at the time and still command a premium from collectors today.

Reprints of Beatrix Potter's works usually resemble the original first editions in almost every detail, and can be hard to distinguish from them. The key points to look for are:

(a) the first editions are usually dated in the imprint at the foot of the title page, on the front (recto) of the leaf. The copyright date on the back (verso) will show the first date of publication, but this alone is not indicative of first edition status. Later printings have no date in the imprint.

(b) her publisher Frederick Warne became a limited company in 1917, after the great majority of her best-known books had been first published. Therefore, most books with "Limited" or "Ltd" in the company name, either in the imprint or on the front cover, are published in or after 1917 and are reprints.

(c) any edition bearing an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) was issued after 1967.

With one or two exceptions, only first edition, first impressions, in the original publisher's bindings have significant value.

Read our blog post about first editions of Peter Rabbit.

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  1. Studies of the robin in The Tale of Peter Rabbit (recto) and a microscopic drawing (verso)
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    POTTER, Helen Beatrix.

    Studies of the robin in The Tale of Peter Rabbit (recto) and a microscopic drawing (verso) c.1900

    £4,750

    A lovely set of two sketches of a dead robin, both in pencil, with the smaller of the two filled in with watercolour. Helen Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) Studies of the robin in The Tale of Peter Rabbit (recto) and a microscopic drawing (verso) … Read more

  2. The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit. 1902

    £17,500

    First (privately printed) edition, second printing. One of 200 copies printed. The first printing was issued in December 1901 in a edition of 250 copies. The tale of Peter Rabbit was developed from a picture letter sent to Noel Moore on 4 September 1893. A … Read more

  3. The Tailor of Gloucester.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tailor of Gloucester. 1902

    £5,500

    First edition, first impression. One of 500 copies privately printed for Beatrix Potter a year before Warne’s trade edition. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “For the Gloucester Infirmary Bazaar from Beatrix Potter”. The text of this edition is considerably longer than … Read more

  4. The Tailor of Gloucester.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tailor of Gloucester. 1902

    £4,500

    First edition, one of 500 copies privately printed for the author a year before Warne’s trade edition, issued in the same month and in similar format to the second privately-printed Peter Rabbit. The text of this edition is considerably longer than that of the first … Read more

  5. The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. 1903

    £3,000

    First edition, deluxe issue in flower patterned cloth. A later deluxe edition was issued in a gilt decorated cloth with gold titles. Read more

  6. The Tailor of Gloucester.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tailor of Gloucester. 1903

    £1,500

    First trade edition, first impression, with a single-page endpaper occurring four times. This edition was preceded by 500 copies privately printed for the author. Eleven of the illustrations are repeated from the privately-printed edition and sixteen are entirely new for this edition. Read more

  7. The Tailor of Gloucester.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tailor of Gloucester. 1903

    £1,250

    First trade edition, first impression, with a single-page endpaper occurring four times. This edition was preceded by 500 copies privately printed for the author. Eleven of the illustrations are repeated from the privately-printed edition and sixteen are entirely new for this edition. Read more

  8. The Tale of Two Bad Mice.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Two Bad Mice. 1904

    £375

    First edition. The first two printings are identical. Read more

  9. The Pie and the Patty-Pan
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Pie and the Patty-Pan 1905

    £750

    First edition, first impression, with lilac endpapers. Read more

  10. The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan. 1905

    £375

    First edition, first impression. Read more

  11. The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes. 1906

    £2,000

    First edition, deluxe issue in burgundy cloth. Read more

  12. The Tale of Jeremy Fisher.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Jeremy Fisher. 1906

    £475

    First edition, first impression. Read more

  13. Ginger and Pickles.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    Ginger and Pickles. 1909.

    £350

    First edition, first impression. Read more

  14. The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. 1909

    £3,750

    First edition, deluxe issue. Beatrix Potter showed an avid interest in the design of her books. When Warne issued The Tale of Peter Rabbit in paper boards and in cloth at a higher price, Potter complained that “there was not sufficient difference between the two … Read more

  15. The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. 1909

    £750

    First edition. The sequel to the tales of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. The first two printings are identical. Read more

  16. The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes.
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    POTTER, Helen Beatrix.

    The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes. 1911

    £2,750

    First edition, first printing. An excellent copy in the very rare publisher’s glassine dust jacket. The story of Timmy and Goody Tiptoes is the only Beatrix Potter story apparently set in North America – although this is implicit rather than stated anywhere in the book. … Read more

  17. The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes. 1911

    £700

    First edition. Read more

  18. The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes. 1911

    £850

    First edition. Read more

  19. The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes. 1911

    £750

    First edition. The first two printings are believed to be identical. The story of Timmy and Goody Tiptoes is the only Beatrix Potter story apparently set in North America – although this is implicit rather than stated anywhere in the book. All the main animal … Read more

  20. The Tale of Mr. Tod.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Mr. Tod. 1912

    £375

    First edition. The first two printings are identical. Read more

  21. The Tale of Mr. Tod.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Mr. Tod. 1912

    £750

    First edition. Read more

  22. The Tale of Mr. Tod.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Mr. Tod. 1912

    £4,000

    First edition, first impression. Inscribed on the front free endpaper.”For Rose Hedges from Miss Potter. Wishing her a Merry Christmas 1912.” Rose Hedges was in service to Beatrix Potter’s mother at the time of receiving this book. Read more

  23. The Tale of Pigling Bland.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Pigling Bland. 1913

    £400

    First edition. The first two printings are identical. Read more

  24. The Tale of Pigling Bland.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Pigling Bland. 1913

    £750

    First edition. The first two printings are identical. Read more

  25. The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse. 1918

    £895

    First edition, first impression with the ‘N’ dropped from London on the title page. Read more

  26. The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse. 1918

    £2,000

    First edition, first printing with the ‘N’ dropped from London on the title page. Read more

  27. Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes. [1922]

    £400

    First edition, first printing. Beatrix Potter used earlier paintings of her neighbour’s guinea pigs which were recopied for this book. Read more

  28. Wag-by-Wall.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    Wag-by-Wall. 1944

    £1,500

    First edition in book form, number 23 from a limited edition of only 100 copies. Beatrix Potter wrote this Christmas story in 1909 as “The Little Black Kettle” and put it aside. She picked up the story again in 1929 and rewrote it as part … Read more

  29. Tale of Benjamin Bunny.
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    POTTER, Beatrix.

    Tale of Benjamin Bunny. [c.1970]

    £875

    A delightfully bound set of some of Beatrix Potter’s most beloved stories. Read more

  30. The Art of Beatrix Potter.
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    [POTTER, Beatrix] LINDER, Enid and Leslie.

    The Art of Beatrix Potter. 1972

    £125

    First revised edition. An in-depth look at the art and style of Beatrix Potter. Read more

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