Your Dennis Wheatley collection?

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Jim
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Your Dennis Wheatley collection?

Post by Jim » Wed 4 Jul, 2007 18:59:40

What's the "best" item in your personal collection?

I have DW's own copy of THE MYSTERY OF A HANSOM CAB, with the Pape bookplate, and one of the carbon typescripts for MAYHEM IN GREECE ("extra copy," with corrections in various hands). But my favorite, I think, is a letter in response to someone who wrote asking for an autograph:

"Dear Mr. Schofield,

"Very many thanks for your letter, and for your very kind verdict on my work. I am grateful that you think so well of it, and hope that you will continue to do so.

"I have great pleasure in sending you my autograph for your daughter, Wendy Jan, and if you cut off the end of this letter I hope it will serve as the autograph she needs."

The above is typed, on DW's Grove Place stationery. He then writes in longhand:

"For Wendy Jan with best wishes from Dennis Wheatley."

Fortunately, Wendy Jan decided to save the entire letter...

Nick
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Post by Nick » Wed 4 Jul, 2007 19:58:15

It would be interesting to see what the reaction would be to an on line shop for DW books and related items.Ebay seems to have any amount of books and not so many sales, however a dedicated shop for buying and selling might attract some interesting response. Rare items maybe unearthed and our spare copies can be sold. Just a thought...............
Last edited by Nick on Wed 4 Jul, 2007 19:59:55, edited 1 time in total.

Jim
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Post by Jim » Thu 5 Jul, 2007 03:19:19

A big problem with eBay is that the sellers are largely amateurs, not professional booksellers. That means that much of what's there is out of the basement or the garage: umpteen copies of the Heron editions, the ugly series of Arrow paperbacks (you know the ones I mean), and poor, jacketless copies of some interesting things.

An example: when I looked earlier today, there's an autographed copy of MAYHEM IN GREECE for auction. However, it's the Lymington, not the first edition. This would be nice enough for many collectors, but the original owner (I presume) has taken a pinking shear and cut his/her name off the title page, leaving only the signed half!

Charles
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Post by Charles » Mon 30 Jul, 2007 20:27:15

Jim

Somewhat belatedly, I'm coming back on your original question - and a marvellous one - 'What's the "best" item in your personal collection ? '

In deciding, one criteria might be - if your house was on fire, after rescuing your family, what DW item would you then rescue next ? I seem to recall this figuring in a Sherlock Holmes short story and I think it's a pretty good test (Conan Doyle seems to be a recurring theme at the moment, and for what it's worth, The Maracot Deep is, after the odd DW novel, my favourite book).

I have several favourites in my own collection but one is certainly Dennis & Joan Wheatley's copy of William Younger's 'The Singing Vision', with DW's bookplate and inscribed

'For my mother and step-father, the Joan and Dennis whom I love very much and who have shown me such generosity of spirit

William Anthony

November, 1946'

You couldn't ask for more moving thanks from a family member than that.

I'll be fascinated to know what everyone else's favourites are ...

All the best
Charles

Steve Whatley
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Post by Steve Whatley » Thu 16 Aug, 2007 18:14:10

Whoever bought the maimed copy of Mayhem In Greece which Jim referred to might think themself lucky to still have the signed portion. I've seen two different foreign editions of Murder Off Miami, which from the distinctive handwriting on them would seem to have been Wheatley's own copies, both lacking the bottom 2 1/4 inches of the front cover - presumably where some unscrupulous autograph collector has cut the signatures off! Such sacrilage seems unthinkable, but some people just don't care.

Jim
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Post by Jim » Sun 13 Dec, 2009 14:05:21

Steve Whatley wrote: I've seen two different foreign editions of Murder Off Miami, which from the distinctive handwriting on them would seem to have been Wheatley's own copies, both lacking the bottom 2 1/4 inches of the front cover - presumably where some unscrupulous autograph collector has cut the signatures off! Such sacrilege seems unthinkable, but some people just don't care.

Years ago, I collected the "Philo Vance" mysteries by S.S. VanDine. They weren't that easy to come by in good condition, and I had left my name with a book dealer in New York City's Union Square (at the top of the then-famous "Book Row" along Fourth Avenue--our equivalent of the shops along Charing Cross Road).

One time I went into the shop to collect a volume they'd found for me. Someone rang up my purchase, and made a note on the record card they kept in my name. I could see that a list of all the VanDine titles had been pasted on the card. (This was before the smallest corner shop had a computer and a photocopier.) It wasn't until I got home that I realized my copy of the book had no such list in it, probably because the dealer had carefully cut the page out!

I never bought anything from him again...

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