Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dennis Wheatley, you can't give him away... or can you?


There was a time when Dennis Wheatley's first editions were very sought after or, in a phrase I hate with a passion, "highly collectible". Most of his books have never been very expensive, although my 2010 copy of R. B. Russell's Guide to First Edition Prices suggests that his 1930s titles might be worth a few hundred pounds, but for years, those reasonably inexpensive firsts were the staple diet of a provincial bookshop. Not any more. He's dead in the water. Don't get me wrong, I don't think they're bad books, I have very fond memories of a long summer as a teenager in which I hoovered up the whole of the Gregory Sallust series and all the black magic books. I suggested on Twitter the other day that finding a pile of Dennis Wheatley books in the middle of an otherwise decent lot of books is the bookseller's equivalent of a gardener finding Japanese Knotweed growing under your shrubbery! And it happened to me. A lot of books I bought for other things happened to include a big load of Wheatley, not many are first editions, some have great covers, some are ex-library but not all, the condition is mixed. So, let's see if it really is true that you can't give this stuff away...

On Tuesday next week I am donating these to a charity shop near here. If you would like any one or more of them before then, drop me an email. I ask only that you pay the cost of shipping to wherever you are in the world. In the unlikely event that more than two people want the same book I shall doll them out in the order the requests appear in my inbox. Go Wheatley....!



5 comments:

Self-effacing ghost said...

In the lower reaches of the Scottish book market, the situation seems a little different. I've spent the past two years attempting to organise the books side of two unorthodox charity shops in Edinburgh and East Lothian, and in both shops Wheatley has consistently sold well. I can think of only one volume that didn't find a purchaser: a hardback with no jacket and a completely faded spine. It seems the enthusiasts are still out there...

J said...

And it can be very difficult to get his books here in the U.S. He was only published sporadically in the states--just one of the Roger Brook stories in hardcover, and Macmillan dumped him when he refused to write a third consecutive Gregory Sallust novel.

Kevin Lazio Pearce said...

Hi, Im a collector of Wheatley books and its simplistic to say you can't give them away. I buy and sell online and any 'collectable' wheatley books don't last more than a day before being sold if at the right price for that book. the books you show are not valuable but if you tried you would get money for them. If you had The devil rides out with dustjacket,the fabulous valley,contraband,three inquisitive people and the list goes on for £3000 each i would snap your hand off. you will find on ebay last week a devil rides out in poor condition without dutjacket made nearly £400.

Callum said...

Thanks so much for your comments all... I know you are all right. I think this is all a function of a very mature market. Those people who collect in a mature market tend to have all the lower level first editions and special reprints that they want leaving only the real rarities to fight over and get excited by.

For the record, I was able to give away only a single dust-jacket to someone who had only the book and not the jacket.

Thank you all though for taking the time to share your own experiences.

CJ

Kevin Lazio Pearce said...

Well if you come across anymore that you don't want or want to sell let me know.

 
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