In 1858 Edward Fitzgerald sent the manuscript of The Rubáiyát of Omar-Khayyám to the editor of Fraser's Magazine, but about a year later, since there was apparently no prospect of its being published, he asked for it to be returned to him. He then had it printed at his own expense in February 1859, and this small quarto pamphlet in a brown wrapper was published by Bernard Quaritch, the second-hand bookseller, who offered it to the public at half a crown. Little or no interest was taken in the poem, and Quaritch reduced the price to a shilling, and ultimately placed the pamphlet in `the penny box outside his door', where some copies were picked up by passers-by. When at length Fitzgerald's poem, reached the hands of Rossetti, Swinburne, and Sir Richard Burton, it began to be talked about, and the market price soon soared. In a letter to A. C. Benson,. Swinburne gives his own. account of what had happened.
Note from Edward Fitzgerald, from Literary Anecdotes