|Mr. Wray's Cash-Box was published in December 1851 as a Christmas story. Wilkie hated Christmas, but he was quite happy to cash in on it throughout his professional life. Collins met Dickens in March 1851 and remained his close friend until Dickens's death. It is possible that Dickens explained the value of Christmas books to a writer.
Title page of the first edition of Mr Wray's Cash-Box, published by
Richard Bentley. Although dated 1852, the book was published on 13 December
1851. And the preface is dated December 1851. A second edition with a
shortened preface was published later in 1852.
He wrote to a friend earlier that year
"On Friday morning last, an idea came into my head for a Christmas Book - I tell it you, mind, as a profound secret - don't say a word about it to anybody. If I am to put this new notion into shape and form this year, I must work night and day; and I mean to do so."
|The frontispiece to the first edition of Mr Wray's Cash-Box. Drawn by Wilkie's friend John Everett Millais, it was his first book illustration.
|One of the very few re-publications of Mr. Wray was this one by T.B.Peterson & Brothers in Philadelphia. A pirate edition, probably from 1873, re-titled The Stolen Mask.
|A modern reprint of the story in this anthology edited by Richard Dalby and published by Michael O'Mara Books, London 1991.