A children's book must be illustrated. Dodgson does not draw well. The cartoonist of Punch magazine, John Tenniel, is highly popular for the humor of his drawings that are activating grotesque characters. The two men conclude some agreement and Tenniel executes the 42 drawings of Dodgson's tale.
Dodgson is in a hurry. He wants the book to be available for the third anniversary of the Thames trip. In June 1865, the publisher Macmillan binds a first set of 50 copies that Dodgson immediately sends to his friends.
Tenniel is dissatisfied with the print of his illustrations. He is right: the plates are uneven with faint and dark areas. Dodgson rejects the 2000 copies of this first edition and endeavors with mixed success to call back the already supplied copies. The rejected material will be used on the following year for the first US edition by another publisher.
The success of the book is phenomenal but the surviving copies of the edition dated 1865 are excessively rare. They are a holy grail for the bibliophiles at the same level as Shakespeare's First Folio.
The working copy used by Dodgson is one of the 22 or 23 survivors. This book accompanied by ten of the original drawings by Tenniel was sold for $ 1.55M including premium by Christie's on December 9, 1998.
Among the copies that are still in private hands, only two retain the original binding and casing. The best of these two books is estimated $ 2M for sale by Christie's in New York on June 16, lot 1. Please watch the video shared by the auction house, in which the anomaly identified by Tenniel is blatantly demonstrated.