[BRONTË, Charlotte, Emily and Anne]. BELL, Currer, Ellis, and Acton. Poems. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1846 .
First edition, second issue, in the initial second issue binding (with harp) as illustrated in Smith, without errata slip or publisher's catalogue but with one leaf of advertisements at rear. Octavo (6 5/8 x 4 in; 169 x 103 mm). iv, 165, [1, colophon], [1, advertising], [1, blank] pp.
Original light green vertically-ribbed cloth. Gilt lettered spine with two single rules and four decorative bands in blind. Blindstamped double line rectangular border enclosing decorative floral designs with blindstamped fancy harp at center. Unopened. With the Armorial book plate of James Hale Bates on the front paste down. Spine a little sunned but the gilt still fresh and bright. A near fine copy.
The distinction between the first and second issues rests upon remaining sheets: One thousand copies of Poems were printed by Aylott and Jones in London May 1846 but with less than fifty copies sold or distributed, the unused sheets were put in storage. It was not until the success of Jane Eyre in 1847 that its publisher, Smith, Elder and Co., bought the approximately 960 remaining quires and bindings from Aylott and Jones. Many of the old bindings were restamped and new title pages (cancels) for the Smith imprint were added (the copy under notice possesses a binder's ticket from Westley's on the rear pastedown). Beyond these cosmetics, there were no textual changes.
The author's first name is printed at the conclusion of each poem. Charlotte contributed nineteen poems, Emily and Anne twenty-one each.
It took fourteen years for the initial print run of 1000 to sell out, with many binding variants over subsequent years. Smith believes that the light green binding with fancy harp "represents, I believe, more truly than any other the initial Smith, Elder publication effort and isolates it from some vestiges of the bibliographical confusion that resulted from the purchase of unsold quires and binding cases from Aylott and Jones" (Smith I, note 1).
Smith 1. Carter, Binding Variants, p. 94.