Posts Tagged ‘Heritage Auctions’

H. P. Lovecraft Auction Watch

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Multiple items of interest to the fanatical H.P. Lovecraft collector are coming up for auction soon:

  • A 31-page collaborative manuscript between Lovecraft and celebrated magician/escape artist Harry Houdini will come up for auction at Chicago’s Potter & Potter on April 9. It will start at an opening bid of $13,000, though the estimate is in the $25,000—$40,000 range. And it could go for a lot more, given that Houdini has his own fanatical collectors.
  • There are also numerous Lovecraft items, most from Stu Schiff’s collection, coming up at Heritage Auctions on April 6. Including:

  • Ten autographed letters from Lovecraft, totaling 46 pages, most of which remain unpublished. Bidding starts at $10,000.

  • An original typescript for Lovecraft’s story “The Festival”, with Lovecraft’s handwritten title page and hand-corrections. Bidding starts at $2,000.

  • A copy of the Visionary Publishing Shadow Over Innsmouth, with an errata sheet containing further hand-corrections by Lovecraft laid in. Current bid is $1000.

  • Donald Wandrei’s copy of The Outsider and Others, and probably the finest copy I’ve ever seen to boot. Current bid is $5,000.

  • They even have the passport of Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft (to which he had a brief, unsuccessful marriage) which L. W. Currey offered up a while back. Current bid is $550.

  • If you’re a serious Lovecraft collector, April looks like it’s going to be quite expensive…

    Another Heritage Book Auction Today

    Thursday, October 17th, 2013

    Heritage Auctions is having another of their signature book auctions today.

    It’s mostly non-science fiction offerings, but among the items up for auction:

  • A Secker and Warburg first of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
  • An inscribed first of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot.
  • An inscribed first of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (which I actually consigned to this auction).
  • Prices Realized on SF Books in Heritage Auctions’ April 10 Offering

    Thursday, April 11th, 2013

    As a followup on my previous auction post, here are the prices realized on the items I highlighted in yesterday’s Heritage book auction. All prices include buyer’s premium:

  • Robert E. Howard’s original typewritten manuscript for the Conan story “A Witch Shall Be Born”, signed by Howard, went for $22,500.
  • A very nice first of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone went for a jaw-dropping $43,750.
  • A slightly tattered copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others went for $1,750.
  • A very nice copy of the Visionary publication of Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth went for $4,375.
  • Unbound signatures of the Recluse Press edition of The Shunned House went for $3,875.
  • 26 letters by H. G. Wells went for $8,125.
  • A signed first of Wells’ The War of the Worlds went for a staggering $35,000. I don’t think one of the 12 or so known copies of the Henry Holt (true 1st) edition of The Time Machine has gone for that.
  • A nice copy of Alfred Bester’s Tiger! Tiger! went for a mere $800, a comparative bargain, since I’ve seen copies sell in excess of $2,000.
  • A pretty good copy of Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light with a signature plate laid in went for $750.
  • Preview: SF First Editions in Heritage Auctions’ April 10th Offering

    Monday, April 8th, 2013

    Heritage Auctions has another signature book auction coming up on April 10, and there are several interesting SF/F/H first editions up for offer. Here’s a preview of a few:

  • Robert E. Howard’s original typewritten manuscript for the Conan story “A Witch Shall Be Born”, signed by Howard.
  • Yet another first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Heritage has auctioned off a number of these in the past, and they all seemed to go for over $20,000. This is a particularly nice copy.
  • A slightly tattered copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others.
  • Speaking of Lovecraft, there’s also a Visionary publication The Shadow Over Innsmouth. (Actually, there are two in this auction; that link goes to the nicer copy.)
  • Also from Lovecraft: Unbound signatures of the Recluse Press edition of The Shunned House. Making it even rarer is the fact that the copyright page remains uncanceled.
  • 26 letters by H. G. Wells.
  • Speaking of Wells, here’s a signed first of The War of the Worlds. (Related: The signed H. G. Wells book I own.)
  • A nice copy of Alfred Bester’s Tiger Tiger.
  • A nice copy of Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light, with a signature plate laid in.
  • Plus a few other miscellaneous SF items. However, the main strength of the auction overall is a number important scientific first editions, a signed first of ian Fleming’s Moonraker, etc.

    Brief After Action Report on the April 11, 2012 Heritage Book Auction

    Friday, April 13th, 2012

    I wanted to do a brief follow-up on Wednesday’s Heritage Books Auction. Results were all over the map.

    First, books I have trending data for:

  • The Asbestos-bound copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 went for a hefty $13,750.00, up considerably from a lesser copy in the Jerry Weist auction last year.
  • By contrast, the signed copy of Philip K. Dick’s Confessions of a Crap Artist went for $1,000, down over 80% from a slightly better copy in the Weist auction.
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others went for $2,250.00, down from the $3,883.75 paid for a slightly worse copy.
  • Books I don’t have trending data for:

  • The signed, limited first edition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World went for $3,750.
  • The first Stephen King book he ever signed, an incribed ARC of Carrie, went for $11,250. (The Stephen King collector’s market, after some declines among “regular” signed/limited editions over the past few years, seems to be alive and well.)
  • A first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with a signed letter from Stoker laid in went for $5,625.
  • But the most schizophrenic result from the auction was two early signed Thomas Pynchons going for hefty sums, but two later signed copies failed to sell at all:

  • The Crying of Lot 49 went for $8,750.
  • Gravity’s Rainbow went for $16,250.
  • Slow Learner failed to sell. It can be yours as an after-auction buy for a mere $3,125.
  • An ARC of a later edition of V failed to sell and can be yours as an after-auction buy for $2,500.
  • You would think there would be enough hardcore Pynchon collectors for those two to sell, especially the Slow Learner.

    And a beat-up Shakespeare and Company true first edition (in wrappers) of James Joyce’s Ulysses went for $35,000.

    As for the non-fiction first editions:

  • Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations went for $80,500.
  • Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection went for $83,500.
  • A beautifully bound subscriber’s edition of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom went for $62,500.
  • Another Heritage Book Auction

    Sunday, April 8th, 2012

    Heritage Auction is having another of their big book Auctions April 11.

    There are a few notable SF/F/H works listed:

  • Another Asbestos-bound copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
  • Another signed copy of Philip K. Dick’s Confessions of a Crap Artist.
  • A copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others with perhaps the nicest dust jacket (an original, not the de la Ree facsimile) I’ve ever seen offered for sale.
  • The signed, limited first edition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
  • The first Stephen King book he ever signed, an incribed ARC of Carrie.
  • A first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with a signed letter from Stoker laid in.
  • There’s also some signed Thomas Pynchon, which almost never comes on the market, including:

  • The Crying of Lot 49
  • Gravity’s Rainbow
  • Slow Learner
  • An ARC of a later edition of V
  • Plus the notoriously fragile Shakespeare and Company true first edition (in wrappers) of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

    But the main strength of the auction is in non-fiction, including first editions of:

  • Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
  • Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
  • A beautifully bound subscriber’s edition of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom
  • Not to mention several Isaac Newton first editions, plus a whole lot of important economic and military first editions.

    Lawrence Person’s Library: Reference Books (Part 3: Contributor Copies)

    Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

    Here are some pics from the section of my reference library where I keep contributor copies of publications my work has appeared in. Before the contributor copies, there are several book auction catalogs (including from the auctions I covered here), as well as some old S. M. Mossberg and L. W. Currey book catalogs of interest. After that the actual contributor copies start. You should be able to figure out what these are from my bibliography. The exception is the black tape-bound volume on the first shelf, which is a compilation of materials handed out for a Danish class on science fiction which includes my review of Donnie Darko. I have so many copies of Jim Baen’s Universe because FACT had boxes to give away at the 2008 Nebula Awards here in Austin and I snagged some leftovers.

    As usual, click to embiggen.

    I have a few of these available for sale through Lame Excuse Books as well.

    Previous entries on my reference library can be found here and here.

    You Could Own John Wayne’s Copy of The Lord of the Rings

    Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

    Heritage Auction is auctioning off tons of items from the estate of John Wayne. Being the canny man he was, he saved just about everything from his movie career: scripts, outfits, awards, you name it. There’s a treasure-trove of Hollywood memorabilia going under the hammer, including letters from Ronald Reagan, Katherine Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra, and about a hundred other luminaries.

    I did take a look at the books being sold from his library, but all of them have opening bids substantially above market minus the Wayne connection. However, I did want to point out his owning copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Not firsts, of course (Wayne seemed to be an avid reader, but not a book collector), but that beautiful second edition Houghton-Mifflin LOTR set done to bring the books back into copyright after the unauthorized (but borderline legal) Ace books edition. This is the edition my father read to me from as a child, and it’s the edition I own.

    Heritage sends out a Heritage Magazine for the Intelligent Collector as a freebie to people who bid in their auctions, and they had a fascinating interview with his son Ethan Wayne about growing up living with his father, and about how random people would come around. One time John Wayne saw some guys coming up his dock, grabbed a gun and said “Who are and what do you want?” “Golly, Mr. Wayne, we’re Marines. We just heard that you lived here.” “Well then come on up and have a drink.” And they sat around drinking until 1 o’clock in the morning.

    Sounds like he was a swell guy.

    After Action Report on Heritage Auction’s Sale of the Jerry Weist Collection

    Monday, September 19th, 2011

    Every year or two, Heritage Auctions in Dallas conducts a big auction of a major science fiction book collection. In 2007, it was the Ventura Collection.

    The Ventura Collection auction was very successful, and since it occurred right before the advent of The Great Recession, many of the prices achieved in that auction have not since been equaled. (It may also be the first auction catalog Heritage mass-mailed to prospective SF collectors; I had not received any before then.)

    In 2008, it was The Robert and Diane Yaspan collection, which included a vast array of SF firsts as well as several SF manuscripts and a few select non-SF firsts, such as many firsts by mystery writer Earle Stanley Gardener.

    Later in 2008 was the auction of The Frank Collection, which was mainly SF art, but included a number of notable SF first editions as well.

    The just completed auction of the Jerry Weist collection was of the same caliber. There was some original art and pulp magazines in the collection, but the bulk of it was collectible SF/F/H first editions. The auction realized more than $1 million (though a significant fraction of that was for the artworks).

    I’m going to talk about some of the more interesting items sold, and how the prices realized compared to comparable copies of the same firsts in previous years. I’ll also mention when I have a copy of the first edition discussed in my own library.

    A few general observations:

  • Unlike previous Heritage SF Auctions, there were very few multi-volume lots of less desirable titles. I think Heritage will be selling those books individually on their weekly Internet book auctions.
  • Weist, like myself, settled for less than perfect copies of many difficult titles, including some worn, corner-clipped, or ex-library copies. (By contrast, the vast majority of the Ventura collection were pristine copies.)
  • The Weist collection was very strong in Golden Age and pre-Golden Age authors, but very weak in Hypermodern SF.
  • It was strong in Ray Cummings and Edgar Rice Burroughs (neither of which I collect), Isaac Asimov, John W. Campbell, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, William Hope Hodgson (many if not all of the firsts published in his lifetime), Robert E. Howard, Curt Siodmak (more about which anon), Clark Ashton Smith, and Olaf Stapledon.

  • Conversely, assuming the volumes presented in the auction do constitute the cream of the crop and nothing has been held back, it was weak in Jack Vance, Stephen King, Avram Davidson, R. A. Lafferty, Gene Wolfe and (save the two Fahrenheit 451s) Ray Bradbury.
  • I’ve tried to do some trending for various titles here, but there’s a lot of volatility at the high of the market. A book that normally goes for $100-200 might hit $2,000 for a signed copy at auction If two deep-pocketed collectors each need it to complete their collection.
  • Holy Grails

    To me, far and away the most interesting and desirable item was one of only five copies of Stanley G. Weinbaum’s Dawn of Flame to have the unsigned introduction by Amazing editor Ray Palmer. Weinbaum’s widow evidently objected to the introduction, which is why only five copies were so produced. Even the 245 copy Currey B state (with Lawrence Keating’s introduction replacing Palmer’s) is rare enough, and the book is widely considered the first true SF small press book. I don’t believe I’d seen a copy of the Palmer state for sale before, but I think one was sold when the Sam Moskowitz collection was auctioned off (they didn’t send me a catalog). Moreover, this particular copy once belonged to legendary collector and fan Forrest J. Ackerman, and was inscribed by him to Weist. Counting the buyer’s premium (a little shy of 20%, and which I’m going to include for all the other prices listed here), it went for $9,560.00; it wouldn’t have surprised me to see it go for twice that much.

    There were some other SF collecting “holy grails” sold there:

  • One of 50 copies of the signed, presentation hardback state of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which went for $8,365.00. This represents an increase over the $5,377 a copy fetched in the Yaspan auction.
  • One of 200 asbestos bound copies of Fahrenheit 451 graded Very Good, went for $5,975.00. This represents something of a decline; a Fine copy went $15,535 in the Ventura Collection auction, a Very Good copy in the Yaspan collection went for $8,962, and a Near Fine copy in the Frank auction went for $9,560.
  • To me one of the most surprising outcomes was seeing a signed copy of Philip K. Dick’s Confessions of a Crap Artist go for $5,078.75, since there’s at least one signed copy from the 90 copies originally signed by Dick available online for $1,500. (And I think there were two copies for well under $5,000 when the auction commenced…) I have one of the unsigned firsts, which goes for considerably less.
  • Speaking of Dick, a copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? went for $6,572.50, despite tape stains on the jacket folds. I thought the $9,560 fetched by a Near Fine copy in the Ventura auction was outrageous at the time, but the value seems to have held up. (I have an ex-library copy myself, and even Ex-Lib copies list online for two to four grand.)
  • One of only 75 sets of E. E. “Doc” Smith’s History of Civilization, the six volume signed, leatherbound Fantasy Press set (in box, but without lid) went for $5,377.50. A set with the lid went for $5,676.25 in the Yaspan auction.
  • Other Notable Books

    From Holy Grails we move on to books that are merely Really Freaking Expensive. There are usually a few copies of these bumping around on Bookfinder.com, albeit with a comma in the price.

  • A signed copy of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Empire ($1,912) went for more than a signed (via bookplate) I, Robot ($1,553.50), probably due to some mild water damage to the latter. A Fine but price-clipped copy of I, Robot went for $2,270 in the Ventura auction, while another imperfect copy went for $1,434 in the Yaspan auction. I, Robot has become by far the hardest to find among the Gnome Press Asimovs.
  • A signed, Near Fine copy of Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man went for $872.35. I have a Fine copy, but not signed.
  • A merely Very Good copy of Bester’s Tiger! Tiger! (the hardback first of The Stars My Destination) went for $1,015.75, which is probably about market. A Fine copy in the Ventura auction went for $1,792.
  • The late Jack Chalker’s inscribed copy of Hal Clement’s Cycle of Fire went for $1,015.75. The title is harder to find than most of Ballantine Books SF hardbacks of the fifties.
  • Bob Weinberg’s inscribed ex-library copy of Philip Jose Farmer’s Green Odyssey went for a relatively modest $334.60. Like Cycle of Fire, this is one of the most difficult Ballantine Books hardbacks to find, especially for non-ex-library copies. Despite that, a Very Good signed copy failed to sell in the Yaspan auction, while a restored ExLib copy went for $448.13 in the Ventura auction.
  • A Fine, signed copy of the Gollancz (first hardback) edition of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, probably the essential novel of Hypermodern Science Fiction, went for $1,553.50. This is one of the few items for which you can see a clear, unambiguous decline across auctions, as a similarly Fine, signed copy went for $2,695 in the Ventura auction, while a similarly Fine, signed copy went for $2,151 in the Yaspan auction. I have a signed Fine- copy.
  • A copy of Robert A. Heinlein’s Podkayne of Mars went for $985.88. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the copy I just picked up last month for $235.
  • A Very Good+ copy of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers went for $2,270.50. A Fine copy fetched $4,780 in the Ventura auction. I have a very nice Ex-Library copy.
  • A Near Fine copy of Frank Herbert’s Dune went for $4,780. A Fine- copy (a rating I thought was a bit generous, given the rubbing along the dj spine) in the Ventura auction went for $10,755. I have a very worn Ex-Library copy.
  • An inscribed, Near Fine copy of Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon went for $2,390. A similar copy (though with a tipped-in signature rather than an inscription) went for $1,434. My copy is a bit less fine, and unsigned.
  • A copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others (the first Arkham House book and a cornerstone for both SF and horror collections) went for a healthy $3,883.75.
  • Another rare Lovecraft item, an exceptionally nice copy of the Visionary Publishing edition of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, went for a hefty $7,170.00. That’s toward the high end for an unsigned copy (since it was published in Lovecraft’s lifetime, signed copies do exist, and can be had for less than the price of a new Lexus), but there’s a dizzying number of variant states, and I’m not sure which are considered the more desirable among high-end Lovecraft collectors.
  • A Very Good+ copy of Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz went for $2,031.50, mainly because it has the rare orange promotional band. I have an Ex-Library copy.
  • An inscribed, conservatively graded Very Good copy of the Gollancz (first hardback) edition of Larry Niven’s Ringworld went for $2,390.00. In the Ventura auction, a Fine signed copy went for $5,206.25, while in the Yaspan auction, the better of two copies (not signed) went for $1,792. I have an unusually clean Ex-Lib Gollancz Ringworld, which might pass for Fine save an excised front free endpaper. (Did you know there was an unused dust jacket state for the Gollancz Ringworld? Lord knows how this guy (who I believe also owns this amazing Jack Vance collection) got a copy of it…)
  • A price-clipped copy of Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book went for $507.88. One of the more interesting outliers at the Ventura collection was a Fine signed copy going for an eye-popping $1,912. I have a Fine copy Connie inscribed to me after she attended Turkey City I picked up when it came out at cover price.
  • One of the most puzzling results of the auction was a signed first of Curt Siomdak’s Skyport was initially reported going for a stunning $8,611.17. That’s only about $8,500 more than it’s worth. But now when you go to the auction page for the item itself, it shows a far saner $101.58. I’m assuming there was some sort of glitch.

    Slightly less puzzling was a signed, Near Fine copy of L. Sprague de Camp’s The Wheels of If (which has one of Hannes Bok’s most famous dust jacket illustrations) went for $717, which is a good bit more than it usually goes for; Lloyd Currey has a comparable-to-better signed copy online right now for $150. Before this I had the impression de Camp was out of fashion among collectors (and thus I have been able to pick up a number of signed copies of his work pretty cheap). I suspect this is an outlier.

    Although I bid on several items, I only won one: an Ex-Library first of the UK David Bruce & Watson (first hardback) edition of Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man for $95.60. Fine copies go for over a grand.

    Related Topics

    Other science fiction book collecting topics (and glimpses into my own bibliomania) you might find of interest:

  • A description of my own library of science fiction first editions
  • My Books Wanted List
  • Lame Excuse Books, my own side SF/F/H book business, where a discerning collector may find several books of potential interest.
  • Other book related posts (including new acquisitions to my library)