Books not (?) from DW's Library

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Books not (?) from DW's Library

Postby Charles » Fri 2 Mar, 2018 09:38:07

Dear All,

As dedicated collectors we all see from time to time books apparently signed by DW where the signature looks decidedly 'dodgy' ... but fortunately we don't see too many of these because (a) DW is still quite a niche market, and (b) prices still tend to be, at least for most items, relatively modest.

I have recently seen however what may be a new variant, and this concerns books purportedly coming from DW's Library.

I have seen a couple of such books recently ... one in a physical (and prestigious) auction room, and one in an online auction room ... which were - at first sight, and not unreasonably - described as coming from DW's Library, and they bore what appeared to be genuine Pape bookplates .... BUT, if you look in the Blackwell's catalogue, both books, if genuine, should have had profuse handwritten annotations by DW, and have been signed by the authors ... and both of these sets of inscriptions were absent in the books that came up for auction.

I have no reason to believe that DW had two bookplated copies of either of these items ... the one double inscribed and the other completely un-inscribed ... and there is no evidence of this for these volumes in his DW's own (unpublished) 1964 book catalogue.

My provisional conclusion is therefore that someone unscrupulous has taken some genuine bookplates (these come up for auction from time to time, and once, many years ago, I was offered a whole pile of genuine but unused ones by a dealer) and applied them to ordinary copies of the relevant books and then passed the books off to innocent book dealers or collectors as genuine 'ex Libris Dennis Wheatley' items.

Obviously I cannot write this with 100% certainty, but 'caveat emptor' ... buyers beware !

You are probably not getting what you thought you were getting if you acquire such items ... and the more we can 'shun' such items the safer the market in DW collectables will be for everyone.

Best as always, and happy collecting !

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