Rediscovered: More on Block on the Block (with a Young Belknapius Footnote)

I was e-chatting with Terry Zobeck over the copy of Lawrence Block’s rare (and unknown, until Terry reported on it) second book, currently on the block at eBay.

Terry said, “He should be noting the artist too, there is a substantial collector’s market for his work. I think it is a previously undocumented publication for him too.”

The artist, Gene Bilbrew, African-American, famous for his work in fetish circles. If you want to conjure up the bucks, who knows, maybe Bilbrew would haul in bigger buckets than Block.

Brian Leno agreed. “Guy doesn’t do himself any favors in his description. More interesting if he provided the back story on the book. Block collectors already know it, possibly, but he could catch the buyers of that type of sleaze. I notice that Block doesn’t draw as high finished-auction prices as some, but this is a tough one to find in any shape.

“The guy missed the boat with Gene Bilbrew. All sorts of names he could have put in his description. Bilbrew knew Eric Stanton, who in turn helped Steve Ditko on Spider-Man. Bilbrew worked for Irving Klaw who produced stuff with Bettie Page, etc. Ton of work getting all this in but the more niche collectors that see it the better.

“However,” Brian admits, “he has sold more than I have, so what do I know? Will be fun to watch.”

I lean more toward detailed product description, as well, but who indeed can say if ultimately they’re better than brief tags. Loot nabbed might more importantly be purely a matter of timing.

I noticed, by the way, that the copy of Frank Belknap Long’s The Rim of the Unknown inscribed to E. Hoffmann Price also is on the block right now ($500 flat, not starting at $500 like the Block). Minimal blurbage:

RIM OF THE UNKNOWN by Frank Belknap Long. Arkham House, 1972. First (and only) edition/printing. Warmly inscribed from Long to Price mentioning Weird Tales. Both authors were published in Weird Tales as well as with Arkham House. A great association. A VG book in a VG jacket. See pics.

That’s the same book I sold for the Price estate on September 27, 2011, bidding out at $150. A decade ago.

My original sales blurbage was more involved, but then I enjoy spinning those bookman wheels and wasn’t trying to move lots of product as fast as possible:

INSCRIBED ARKHAM HOUSE, Lovecraft Circle, from E. Hoffmann Price library

The pulp fictioneer E. Hoffmann Price (1898-1988) is a legend today, as the only fellow writer to have met the “Big Three” of WEIRD TALES — H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith — in person, and as co-author with Lovecraft on “Through the Gates of the Silver Key.” Frank Belknap Long (1901-1994) was an even more active participant in the Lovecraft Circle, typically addressed by The Old Gentleman in their many letters as Young Belknapius.

Here we offer one of the 3650 first edition copies published by Arkham House of Long’s THE RIM OF THE UNKNOWN from 1972, inscribed by one self-acknowledged “Fellow-contributor to Weird Tales” to another — a very nice association item for anyone interested in WEIRD TALES, the Lovecraft Circle or in Arkham House, for that matter, since it also counts as an inscription from one Arkham House author to another.

Price wasn’t a collector as such, and books from his library typically show signs of wear, casual staining, and occasional annotations. THE RIM OF THE UNKNOWN (actual item shown in image) bears an about Good plus unclipped dustjacket with edgewear, darkening, some stains and slight chipping over a Very Good book with very minor staining to outer edges of text block. Other than the inscription from Long, no other marking occurs in the book — but look forward to more offerings in the future where Price adds his pen strokes!

For fans of the pulp era or the supernatural horror tale in America, the unique copy inscribed by Young Belknapius to Malik Taus, in remembrance of old friends and many sales to The Unique Magazine.

This entry was posted in Lit, News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.