Dennis Wheatley's own collection of his works

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Charles
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Dennis Wheatley's own collection of his works

Postby Charles » Sun 4 Nov, 2012 15:28:14

I mentioned to some at the Convention that Dennis Wheatley's own 'best' copies of his works (Blackwell's 1979 Catalogue, item 1) are coming up for auction at Christies, King Street on 21st November; viewing (provisional - I haven't received the printed catalogue yet) 17 Nov 12-5pm, 18 Nov 12-5pm, 19 Nov 9am - 8pm, 20 Nov 9am - 4.30pm).

It's a sumptuous set, and one I hadn't expected to see in the Auction Rooms - its provenance is undisclosed but prestigious.

It includes the only known typescript of 'Of Vice & Virtue' (I spoke very briefly about the manuscript at the Convention), a letter from Churchill thanking DW for the dedication in 'Saturdays with Bricks', and the un-torn photograph from 'Who Killed Robert Prentice'.

If you're thinking of bidding though you'll need deep pockets ... it was sold by Blackwells for £4,500, and the Auctioneer's estimate is £7-10,000. Market intelligence suggests that may be a rather conservative figure.

Second mortgage anyone ?

Apart from that, well worth a look. Unless the set is bought by a dealer and split up (I hope not !) it's probably the only chance we'll get in our lifetimes to view this particular set.

Further details at

http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/sear ... =dt&num=30

Kindest regards,
Charles

Jim
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Postby Jim » Mon 5 Nov, 2012 02:15:07

It certainly is something to see....

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Postby Darren » Mon 14 Jan, 2013 16:02:24

It's interesting that the auction estimate was £7000-£10,000 but it actually went for an impressive £20,000.

I've copied the description below as it is of interest to Dennis Wheatley fans and I don't know how long the Christies webpage will exist with this information.

WHEATLEY, Dennis Yates (1897-1977). THE AUTHOR'S UNIFORMLY BOUND COLLECTION OF HIS OWN WORKS. London: Hutchinson, 1933-1977. Consisting of the novels and short stories in 57 volumes numbered 0 to 54 on spines [vol. numbers 43-44 duplicated]; the 4 'Murder Dossiers' written with J.G. Links (1936-1939); non-fiction works and an unpublished typescript in 8 volumes numbered I-VIII; and his Memoirs (1977).

Lot Description

WHEATLEY, Dennis Yates (1897-1977). THE AUTHOR'S UNIFORMLY BOUND COLLECTION OF HIS OWN WORKS. London: Hutchinson, 1933-1977. Consisting of the novels and short stories in 57 volumes numbered 0 to 54 on spines [vol. numbers 43-44 duplicated]; the 4 'Murder Dossiers' written with J.G. Links (1936-1939); non-fiction works and an unpublished typescript in 8 volumes numbered I-VIII; and his Memoirs (1977).

Together 69 volumes, 8° (ave. 182 x 113mm) and 4° (ave. 275 x 197mm). Uniform full blue morocco gilt by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, coat-of-arms of the author within gilt frame on upper covers, spines panelled in gilt with the author's crest and monogram, gilt edges. Original dust-jackets preserved, and also endpapers where appropriate. Provenance: Dennis Wheatley (binding and bookplate by Papé) -- Blackwell's 1979 Catalogue of Books from the Library of Dennis Wheatley item 1.

FINE SET WITH MOST TITLES IN FIRST EDITION AND DUST-JACKETS BOUND IN. Includes Wheatley's first published novel, The Forbidden Territory (adverts dated Spring 1933), and first occult novel The Devil Rides Out (adverts dated Spring 1935). The crime dossier, Who killed Robert Prentice? contains 'the only extant copy of the torn up photograph' (according to Wheatley's pencil note dated February 1954). The finished typescript, with manuscript alterations, of Of Vice and Virtue: An Eastern Romance, has calligraphic title, dated 1950, indicating that it was 'privately commissioned' [by the Foreign Office], and only appeared in print in 'Arabic, Persian and other Eastern Languages'. Two tipped-in leaves [copy of memo from the F.O.?] state the required plot. Saturdays with Bricks (1961) is with one-page t.l.s. from Winston Churchill, 28 Hyde Park Gate, 20 April 1961, expressing thanks for the 'very agreeable dedication'. The cllection also includes the first in the Duke de Richleau series; Such Power is Dangerous. [1933; adverts dated Summer 1933]; Black August. [1934; though adverts dated Autumn 1933]. First in the Gregory Sallust series; The Fabulous Valley. [1934; adverts dated Summer & Early Autumn 1934]; The Eunuch of Stamboul. [1935; adverts dated Summer 1935]; They Found Atlantis. [1936; adverts dated Spring 1936]. First 'Lost World' novel. -- Contraband. [1936; adverts dated Autumn 1936]; Uncharted Seas [1938? though dated 1937 on spine]; The Golden Spaniard. [1938; adverts dated summer 1938]; The Quest of Julian Day [1939?]. First Julian Day novel; and Three Inquisitive People. [1940? with preface explaining why it was published for 2s, not the usual new novel rate of 8s. 6d]. (69)
Regards,

Darren.

Darren
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Postby Darren » Sun 20 Jan, 2013 21:29:44

.......I've just seen the other thread where this has already been discussed.......
Regards,



Darren.

Jim
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Postby Jim » Mon 21 Jan, 2013 17:15:35

Darren wrote:.......I've just seen the other thread where this has already been discussed.......

Not a problem, I'd think; many threads here include references to each other. I wonder if the auctioneers would allow Charles to post a copy of those photos somewhere on this site. It would be a shame to lose access to those images if the page eventually gets taken down (the text would be less of a loss, since there are several inaccuracies).

Charles
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Postby Charles » Tue 22 Jan, 2013 23:00:57

Don't worry - I'm on the case !

Phil Baker and I spent a couple of happy hours going through the collection at the pre-auction viewing, and I made some notes .... I'll add some of the more important points here when I get a moment.

As for photos, you know me .... watch this space :D !

Darren - many thanks for giving us something to build on, by the way ...
Charles

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Postby Charles » Fri 22 Feb, 2013 20:48:59

As promised, here are my viewing notes ... Phil Baker and I spent several happy hours poring over the set. Photos will appear on the site in due course ...

Dennis Wheatley’s own collection of his works

The collection comprises 69 volumes in all

All are uniformly and sumptuously bound, as stated in the Blackwells catalogue and (partly) illustrated in the Christies catalogue, in crushed blue levant morocco with handsome personalised gilt tooling on the spine and a Wheatley coat of arms emblazoned in gilt on the front. All edges are gilt, and each volume is slightly smaller than its published counterpart – presumably because page edges had to be shaved to accommodate the gilt. The dustjackets of all volumes are bound in – the front of the jacket at the front and the spine and back of the jacket at the back. Publishers’ advertisements are bound in where called for.

The set comprises four elements.

First element : 56 volumes of fiction

Numbered 0-53, with numbers 43 & 44 used twice.

With one exception (see below), in chronological order of publication, with The Forbidden Territory as volume 1, Such Power is Dangerous as volume 2 etc. The final volume in the series is 53, The Strange Story of Linda Lee (1972).

Judging from the Blackwells Catalogue (1979), The Irish Witch (1973) and Desperate Measures (1974) were never bound as part of the set.

‘Mediterranean Nights’ is volume 20 and ‘Gunmen Gallants and Ghosts is volume 21. Omnibus editions are not present. The first stand-alone edition Three Inquisitive People (1940) is present as Volume 0, being the first written although as a stand-alone volume the fifteenth published.

Two numbers are duplicated : 43 is both ‘The Sultan’s Daughter’ and the Arrow edition of Mediterranean Nights while 44 is Bill for the use of a Body and the Arrow edition of Gunmen Gallants and Ghosts.

Some of the volumes have material specially bound in :

- Traitors Gate has a letter from Johnny Bevan bound in saying he is comfortable with Stranger Than Fiction, so long as he is just called ‘Johnny’ and the security services approve.
- Vendetta in Spain has a letter and a newspaper cutting bound in concerning the assassination attempt on which the story is based.
- They used Dark Forces has a letter from General Gale bound in, describing the book as a masterpiece.

Other books have various loose attachments, clearly inserted by Dennis Wheatley himself. For example, The Quest of Julian Day has a letter from a member of the public loosely inserted dated 08.03.1977, enclosing a clipping from the previous weekend’s Sunday Express where it is reported that some of the remains of Cambyses army have been found, while To The Devil a Daughter has a small black and white photo of a house loosely inserted. DW has written on the back that the photograph is of a house on the way to the Cave of Bats.

It is remarkable that these cuttings survive some thirty odd years on.

Unholy Crusade is signed ‘With best wishes. Dennis Wheatley’.
Evil in a Mask is signed ‘My reference copy. Dennis Wheatley’

Second element : 4 volumes of Crime Dossiers

Murder Dossier No 1 Murder off Miami
Murder Dossier No 2 Who Killed Robert Prentice
Murder Dossier No 3 The Malinsay Massacre
Murder Dossier No 4 Herewith the Clues

Volume 2 has the original un-torn photograph of the nude loosely inserted, annotated by DW on the back.

Third element : 8 numbered works, mainly of non-fiction

Vol I Old Rowley
Vol II Red Eagle
Vol III Total War
Vol IV The Seven Ages of Justerinis
Vol V The typescript of Of Vice and Virtue, with a calligraphic title page and two pages of instruction
from the Foreign Office bound in
Vol VI Stranger than Fiction
Vol VII Saturdays with Bricks, with Churchill’s typed and hand-signed letter accepting the dedication in the
book bound in, and a large number of unpublished photos of DW bricklaying professionally pasted
in.
Vol VIII The Devil and all his Works (the ‘normal’ published edition)

Fourth element : one volume of autobiography

The Young Man Said (1977).

The other volumes of autobiography were published after DW’s death.

What a set !
Charles

Stevie P
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Postby Stevie P » Tue 26 Feb, 2013 15:48:52

Bugger.

Just got back from Australia. I was going to put a meaningful bid on the collection....... :^o


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