1965 - The Dark of the Sun
William Heinemann published the first British edition, and The Viking Press published the first American edition under the title: THE TRAIN FROM KATANGA.
William Heinemann reprinted DARK OF THE SUN numerous times: in 1965 (same year as the first printing), 1972, 1975, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989 for a Uniform Edition.
I own an exceedingly rare Uncorrected Proof copy, with original dust jacket (not pictured below). This is an oddity, in that the text is only printed on one side of each page. This is even more scarce since Wilbur signed it for me. This edition was printed on cheap pulp paper, which has yellowed.
My copies of THE DARK OF THE SUN are pictured below
Notice the contrast between the two spines, one of which has age-darkened. It is very uncommon to find a copy with bright white "Wilbur Smith" on the spine.
Regarding the copy below, Wilbur told me directly:
"Eleanor was Eleanor Tariqua, a bookseller in Salisbury, Rhodesia."
The screenshot below was captured from Wilbur's Facebook
By the style of the handwriting, it is possible to ascertain that the copy below was signed in the 1960s, very likely 1965, the year THE DARK OF THE SUN was published. Also, the green ink is a rarity. The original owner wrote "May 1965, Salisbury Rhodesia" inside the front of the book.
Wilbur signed this copy for me
Below, another copy signed in the same green ink as my copy above, but the copy below is not mine.
A unique signature I found on the Internet, not my copy
I once owned almost all of the Heinemann printings, but sold off all of the reprints
I have owned and sold a number of signed copies of DARK OF THE SUN. All below are first printings, except the last one designated as a 1984 printing.
Wilbur used a very sloppy signature for a short while, then basically stopped signing books for collectors and fans. He no longer appears at book-signing events.
The Viking Press first edition of THE TRAIN FROM KATANGA was published 1965.
The Viking Press never reprinted its first edition or published any later editions, so all copies are first printings of the first edition.