The Sign of Four
United States Book Company
This book is remarkable for its many bibliographic oddities and for its backstory. Note that Lovell, Coryell, & Company is stamped on the spine, while the title page lists the United States Book Company as the publisher, without a date. Also notable is the inclusion of two additional Sherlockian tales, “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “A Case of Identity.” A third curiosity is the book’s pair of signatures. Its owner, Chicago business magnate H. N. Higinbotham, signed it on the front pastedown, and Conan Doyle inscribed it on the title page. It is ironic that the author signed a piracy, a practice Conan Doyle publicly abhorred. But since Higinbotham proffered the book at a dinner party he gave in the author’s honor, presumably the polite thing for Conan Doyle's to do was simply to sign the volume.
Pirated edition, inscribed, ownership signature, tipped in ticket stub