One of my little hobbies — fairly harmless — involves keeping an eye out to see how my kid protégé John D. Haefele is doing in the collectability department. A couple of months ago I mentioned, in an aside, how a copy of the first edition hardcover of his A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos had popped up for $60 — the original retail price — after many months where not a copy was to be seen on the block.
Sure, I’ve been plugging it as a genuine collector’s item for awhile, but even I was startled when the bookseller L.W. Currey recently did some coverage on August Derleth. I’ve thought for many years that Currey is the top bookseller in the fantasy and science fiction arena, but if you want to quibble about that assessment, I doubt you’d dispute the point that he certainly is one of the top booksellers for that kind of item.
In the Selected Further Reading list following Currey’s coverage of Derleth, Haefele gets a few cites, including a ref to the Cimmerian Press trade paperback of Derleth Mythos. But here’s the part that knocked me back in my chair: “This edition was preceded by a limited hardbound edition published in 2012 in Denmark by H. Harksen Productions. [Not seen.]”
As of this fall, Lloyd Currey — one of the major names in f&sf book collecting — has not even seen a copy of the first edition hardcover.
May I suggest to the book collectors in the audience that right there is all the proof you need that the Henrik Harksen first edition is truly rare.
But in the same general time frame, I was keeping an eye out for a possible copy that might pop up for sale. I knew that the late Wilum “Hopfrog” Pugmire must have at least one copy, since he did the intro to the book. His library was slowly being offered up online. I figured the bozos selling the titles wouldn’t know anything about book collecting — if it didn’t sell instantly, I was thinking of picking it up, just for investment purposes.
Eventually, it hit the market — for a mere $40.
Man, someone got a great deal.
Hang on to that one. Can you imagine what the ticket will be if the Harksen edition ever shows up in a Currey catalog?
And in recent checks of Amazon I see that the Harksen is duly recorded as “Out of Print — Limited Availability.” What that means is that if you spot a copy, better jump on it.
Plus, I just noticed that Haefele’s chapbook in The Cimmerian Library series — A Bibliography of Books and Articles Written by August Derleth [etc & etc] –— has shown up with the little blurb: “Currently unavailable.” Yeah, good luck with that one.