The first edition of Pinocchio in the original publisher’s green cloth binding


Carlo Collodi’s masterpiece, Pinocchio, was first published between 1881 and 1883, in twenty-six instalments, in the weekly paper “Giornale per i Bambini” (‘Journal for Children’), and was instantly a great popular success. La storia di un burattino (‘The Story of a Puppet’) began in the first issue, on 7 July 1881, and came to a premature end in October with the death of Pinocchio. Pressured by popular demand, Collodi was forced to continue the story, which started again in February 1882 with a new title, Le avventure di Pinocchio (‘The adventures of Pinocchio’), and was brought to its happy ending on January 25, 1883. In the same year it was published in book form. By the time of the author’s death in 1890, the fifth edition had already appeared on the market. In 1892 the first English translation by M.A. Murray inaugurated a series of innumerable versions worldwide. The book was reprinted countless times, illustrated by some of the most talented artists of the twentieth century, translated into all major languages, abridged and adapted for cartoons (Disney’s adaptation dates back to 1939), movies, records, etc.

The first edition in book form (Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino) was printed in Florence by Felice Paggi in 1883 with black-and-white illustrations by Enrico Mazzanti. Copies of this first edition are very rarely found in the original printed wrappers, but it is even rarer still to find copies bound in the original publisher’s green cloth. The cloth, evidently a luxury binding, is known in red and green, and also with significant variants in the title, which is gilt-stamped on the front panel.

A complete description of this item is available here.

Fabrizio Govi