I am just about to fix the references in my thesis, and a possible reason for differences between available copies of al-Muqtaṭaf, which I had briefly mentioned in my first post on the issue of differences between copies of printed periodicals that ought to be similar. As I wrote some eight months later, the scholarly community had just not read al-Muqtaṭaf close enough to discover the existence of a long (kabīr) and short (ṣaghīr) for Volumes 6 to 9, which were most likely targetted at two different markets (the long version at Egypt and Europe and the short one at Beirut, Lebanon, and surrounding areas).
Yet, the original puzzle had been the absence of a short note on the publication of the three new periodicals Dimashq, al-Salām, and al-Iʿtidāl in some copies of the fifth issue of volume 4. Upon closer inspection of the front covers to copies of volume 4, I found the same difference in annual subscription prices and that those copies lacking the short article, carried the note “Printed at al-Muqtaṭaf Press in Egypt on the expense of founders and Shāhīn Makāriyūs, the owner of the press”. We can thus establish the existence of an “Egyptian” and a “Syrian” edition already by June 1878 (the publication date of the first issue of volume 4).
Unfortunately, I have not had access to different editions of volume 5 (the covers of copies SOAS, Michigan, and Princeton show no differences), but I suspect it too exists in (at least) two editions.