Lot #182
Thomas Paine

Rare First London edition of Common Sense, with additions by Paine

This lot has closed

Estimate: $5000+


Rare First London edition of Common Sense, with additions by Paine

Printed pamphlet entitled Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America, with additions by Thomas Paine. First London edition, reprinted for J. Almon, 1776. Disbound, 5.25 x 8.25, 54 pages. The pamphlet bears both an introduction and an appendix, with the title page reading, in part: “A New Edition, with several Additions in the Body of the Work. To which is added an Appendix; together with an Address to the People called Quakers. N. B. The New Addition here given increases the Work upwards of One-Third. / Man knows no Master save creating Heaven, Or those whom Choice and common Good Ordain. Thomson.” This is an early mixed copy with most points agreeing with the third English edition (issued the same year as the first) and, like most English editions, with hiatuses deleting material critical of the English crown and government to avoid prosecution. The 1776 American editions of Common Sense ignited the drive for independence and led directly to the ratification of the Declaration of Independence; the British editions greatly affected public opinion in England, drawing many to support the American cause. There were four London editions of Common Sense printed by John Almon in 1776: issued in two forms—with James Chalmer’s Plain Truth, both with and without a half title. This copy of Common Sense is in the format without Plain Truth and without the half title. The hiatuses in lines 15 and 17 of the Introduction, “combination” and "usurpation,” are printed, and the number to page 23 is printed upside-down. Accompanied by a custom clothbound clamshell case. This represents a remarkable rare early 1776 London edition of Paine’s Common Sense, printed within months of the first American edition—all 1776 editions of Common Sense are rare and desirable and increasingly difficult to obtain.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: #587 - Ended July 08, 2020