Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lovecraft Letter to E Hoffman Price, 1934 Part 3

Autographed postcard by HPL on Ebay. You have toi love Ebay for its time-traveling abilities. Better than H. G. Wells' time machine.

The offering is accompanied by this text:

RARE Holographic Postcard H.P. LOVECRAFT to Author E. Hoffman Price, July 7, 1934, Christ Church Where Washington Worshipped, Alexandria, VA Postmarked Providence, Rhode Island

Truly a magnificent H.P. Lovecraft item. For those that know the Old Gent, they understand what a great epistler he was. In fact, one would find it difficult to find someone of any note that wrote as many letters as Lovecraft. Experts believe that he wrote over 100,000 letters during his lifetime, many of great length (a 50,000 word, one-hundred page letter was not out of the ordinary). It is also surmised that fewer than 10,000 of the letters still survive. Of those, a majority are held in Brown University's H.P. Lovecraft collection. In fact, their agressive acquisitions program for Lovecraft was (and is) so intense, that few letters remain in the hands of collectors. Some believe that less than two hundred letters and postcards are in still left in private hands, of these, few ever show up for sale. Considering that writing (postcards and letters) was Lovecraft's favorite form of communication, and that each epistle is a thoughtful tome in and of itself, an actual letter or postcard can be considered the cornerstone of a Lovecraft collection.

We here at Arkham Books now offer to the public, that very cornerstone. Since letters typically run into the thousands ($4000.00 and up is quite common), a postcard is a more affordable way to own a piece of Lovecraftian history.

This postcard was written to Weird Tales and Horror author E. Hoffman Price, Arkham House contributor, author, and stalwart friend of Lovecraft. Price corresponded extensively with Lovecraft (as did many of his contemporaries). This postcard is postmarked July 7, 1934 (or so it appears to be a "7", the postmark is partially obstructed by HPL's writing). It is postmarked from Providence at 6:00am (or so it appears, again, Lovecraft's extensive writing obstruct parts of the postmark). Postmark is from Providence, Rhode Island. The postcard is of "Christ Church where Washington Worshipped. Alexandria, VA." (No doubt picked up on one of Lovecraft's excursions.) One LOONNNGGG paragraph and approximately 250 words. Moreover, there is an additional note below Lovecraft's "Greetings and salutations from the green and serpent haunted sea to Malik Taus ..." Signed "B".

Price has added a note (or so I believe, and was told it was Price) that "Second signature probably "B" = Barlow " (for RH Barlow, friend of Lovecraft, and literary executor -- they also had a few story collaborations). The content is unpublished.


A Typical Opening Lovecraftian Flourish: "Greetings, O Right Hand of Sulliman ...."
Lovecraft also mentions the San Francisco area that Price Lives in, the Gates of an Old Mission and the Friars; Chinese Delicasies; Price's plan for a MA and PhD; A Two-Day Trip Lovecraft took to Virginia (where the postcard was no doubt acquired): Charleston, Richmond, and Fredericksburg; Philadelphia where he saw Poe's House; and more.
The card is signed in one of Lovecraft's favorite renditions of his initials, Arabic: "E'ch-Pi-El".
Truly a gem. With this, we offer a lifetime Certificate of Authenticity. Lovecraft postcards are become more and more rare, and soon, they just won't show up. (We have seen two on Ebay in the last year or so, one did not sell, and one--that we offered--sold for $950.00 (in October 2005)).

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