Hammett: And Walker Martin

Even rambling on at some length, I couldn’t cover every detail or drop every name in my PulpFest report — though I consider some of that action taken care of by links to other posts, which namecheck people I skip entirely. Plus those include photos — I never take photos.

I could have done more on the subject of collecting, believe it or not. For example, John D. Haefele hauled in a trunkful of dupes and stuff he wants to get rid of, so Saturday morning I introduced him to dealer Nick Certo to their mutual benefit. Certo was the major guy there who handles the sort of books Haefele had bought, and then upgraded.

(Tom Krabacher benefited from the trunk of loot, too. He’d helped Haefele track down some obscure August Derleth items in the science fiction pulps, so Haefele gave him a copy of the Arkham first edition of Leiber’s Night’s Black Agents — Fritz’s first book ever. Looked pretty nice to me, at a glance, but I’m sure Haefele has landed a perfect copy in the meantime. I imagine his collection as looking brand new, every book just published that day. . . . )

And of course I noticed a tantalizing little detail mentioned casually in Walker Martin’s convention report:

I also sold quite a few interesting items, including 12 bound volumes of Adventure from the 1920’s; several bizarre crime digests from the 1950’s like Off-Beat and Two-Fisted; and a couple of Smart Set’s containing early stories by Dashiell Hammett, including his first appearance.

If you recall my report on the previous PulpFest I attended back in 2012, near the end I mention making “a last pass through the dealers room” where:

Walker Martin showed me the issue of Smart Set he had for sale (which he hadn’t had on his table through the entire convention, as far as I know — his sales methods are arcane, but they apparently work for him) with Hammett’s very first appearance in print, priced at $2000. He had another issue of Smart Set with the second or third story for merely $700 (it’s those firsts that bring in the big bucks, always has been, and I suspect always will).

So, some four years later, and at a rate of at least two pulp conventions per year (though who knows if the issues of Smart Set were set out for the ogling of the public), the arcane sales technique finally worked its magic.

And someone landed the very first appearance in print of Hammett.

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