DW's Set of His Own Works Auctioned

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Steve Whatley
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DW's Set of His Own Works Auctioned

Post by Steve Whatley » Tue 27 Nov, 2012 18:28:08

Those of you who were at the Convention earlier this month may recall mention of DW's leather-bound set of his own works coming up for auction.

The sale was at Christie's in London last Wednesday, and although I didn't attend on a viewing day, I did succumb to the temptation of buying a copy of the catalogue, which has a nice colour photo of some of the volumes.

There are actually sixty-nine volumes in the set, all bound in blue morocco by Messrs Sangorski & Sutcliffe, titled in gilt and bearing the Wheatley 'coat of arms' thought to have been 'created' for the boxed set of the first six Lymington editions in 1961. All published titles have the original dustwrappers retained within, and the set includes the legendary 'Of Vice And Virtue' which was never published in English.

I followed the sale on the Christie's website, and the winning bid was £20,000. Bearing in mind the auctioneers' 25% premium, that's a hefty bill for the lucky new owner of what is probably the ultimate DW-collector's item. [font=Courier New] [/font]

shanedwyer
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Post by shanedwyer » Wed 28 Nov, 2012 08:06:54

£20,000? That is a lot of money. Especially considering Christie's estimate was £7,000 - £10,000.

Steve Whatley
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Post by Steve Whatley » Wed 28 Nov, 2012 13:58:35

Yes, I thought that, given the apparent general lack of interest in DW at present, the set might go for a lot less (ie, somewhere within the estimate). But I guess there are always keen collectors in any field, and it only takes two to be bidding at the same auction to bump the price up.[font=Courier New] [/font]

shanedwyer
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Post by shanedwyer » Thu 29 Nov, 2012 16:34:25

I’m grateful for your mentioning that you followed the auction online Steve. I’d never thought to take a look at Christie’s website before and, now that I have, I find it absolutely fascinating.

Interesting to note that the last DW lot to be auctioned, prior to his leather bound set: ‘An extensive collection of his novels, approximately 90 volumes, most first editions, most in dust jackets, including 19 inscribed works...’ went for more than twice the estimate too.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/book ... 7693271faf

Steve Whatley
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Post by Steve Whatley » Thu 29 Nov, 2012 19:26:01

Thanks for the link Shane. I hadn't thought before to make a thorough search for previously auctioned items.

I've had a very interesting time looking at old lots including items relating to DW and some of my other favourite authors. [font=Courier New] [/font]

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Post by Charles » Thu 29 Nov, 2012 21:36:47

Agreed - I've just had a most enjoyable browse of "missed opportunities" too !
Charles

Jim
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Post by Jim » Sat 1 Dec, 2012 13:23:40

shanedwyer wrote: Interesting to note that the last DW lot to be auctioned, prior to his leather bound set: ‘An extensive collection of his novels, approximately 90 volumes, most first editions, most in dust jackets, including 19 inscribed works...’ went for more than twice the estimate too.
What's most interesting to me is that those books sold in New York, not London! There were also several proof copies in that lot--I have never seen a DW proof advertised for sale.

Anyway, so much for my fantasy of The Uncollected Works of Dennis Wheatley, since Of Vice and Virtue will now disappear again into a private collection. (I had this notion of a limited hardcover edition to contain that novel, the "Letter to Posterity," and whatever short stories might have escaped the two collections...)

Steve Whatley
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Post by Steve Whatley » Sat 1 Dec, 2012 23:12:01

Ah, Jim, I too have dreamed of The Uncollected Dennis Wheatley!

The Lusty Youth Of Roger Brook would obviously be one volume, and I think Of Vice And Virtue would constitute a separate volume in itself.

But a third volume could include the other bits you mention, and some others which Charles discussed in his talk Unpublished Wheatley, given at the last Convention.

I'm afraid you'll have to await the Convention Report for full details of these tantalising unpublished items!

All Best, Steve [font=Courier New] [/font]

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