1776. London: W. Strahan, and T. Cadell, 1776.
2 vols., 4to, 12 x 9.25 inches or 305 x 240 mm (large-paper?), top edge just trimmed, other edges untrimmed; , 510 pp.; , 587, [588, ads] pp. Volume I: A(4) a(2) B-Z, Aa-Zz, 3A-3S(4) T(4) (-3T4 (blank), as usual); Volume II: A(2) B-Z, Aa-Zz, Aaa-Zzz, 4A-4E(4) 4F(2). With the usual cancels: M3, Q1, U3, 2Z3, 3A4 and 3O4 in volume I, cancels D1 & 3Z4 in volume II. In vol. 2 p. 288 is misprinted as 289. Old speckled calf recently rebacked, edges untrimmed and substantially larger than 2 copies recently sold as in “original boards”. Copious annotations in ink in a neat early hand. Some soiling to a few leaves (in the press?) and occasional spotting or foxing as usual.
§ First edition, the issue without the Edinburgh imprint of W. Creech (as copies with his imprint have cancel titles, those lacking the Edinburgh imprint such as this probably have priority) of "the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought... Where the political aspects of human rights had taken two centuries to explore, Smith's achievement was to bring the study of economic aspects to the same point in a single work" (PMM). The records of copies at auction and through the trade in the last several years all show copies measuring at least an inch shorter and narrower than this copy -- the Schiff copy alone was almost as tall, the Bradley Martin copy an inch shorter. The annotations are “memory aids” clearly written by an attentive reader who wanted to be able to refer back quickly to the key points of interest to him or her; they are not attempts to dispute or correct the text, or even comment on it, and one might surmise the reader to have been a high-level student or more likely a teacher. The two suggested errata have both been corrected by (a different) hand. ESTC T96668; Goldsmith 11392; Kress 7621; PMM 221; Rothschild 1897. Item #110446