Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Rare Post Card to Charles Hornig (1934)

{My best reading of this is ... Greetings! Saw the new FF at Barlows & want to congratulate you on ? ? issue. After a 7-week ? inside the De Land, I am amongst my favorite antiquarian ?. Staying in St. Augustine a week, ?? amidst atmosphere by the carload. North again ?? by the middle of July. Anyone else want to hazard a reading? -CP}

The seller states: Holographic Postcard by H.P. LOVECRAFT to Charles D. Hornig (Editor The Fantasy Fan), Postmarked June 23, 1934 from Saint Augustine, Florida (Lovecraft was visiting with R.H. Barlow), Signed "HPL"

H.P. LOVECRAFT LETTERS & POSTCARDS: 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 aggressive acquisitions program for Lovecraft's letters and postcards was (and is) so intense, that few 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 rarely show up for sale. Considering that writing (postcards and letters) was Lovecraft's favorite form of communication, and that each communication 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. In the last three years on Ebay and at various Rare Books Shows we have sold two letters and a handful of postcards, and they go quick (moreover, because of Brown University's voracious acquisition program, they are getting much harder to find -- a worn out cliche, but oh so true!) The last postcard we sold (to weird tale author E. Hoffman Price) for $1350.00 just several weeks back at World Horror Con.

ADDRESSED TO: This postcard was written to Fantasy Fan Editor Charles D. Hornig. Hornig started The Fantasy Fan when he was just 17 years of age, in September of 1933. Two of Lovecraft's sotires were first published in the fanzine: "The Other Gods" (the third issue, November 1933) and "From Beyond" (in the tenth issue, June 1934). Moreover, and most significant, is the fanzine/magazine began a serialization of Lovecraft's essay on "Supernatural Horror in Literature," incorporating corrections and slight revisions to the text that appeared in The Recluse. Lovecraft maintained a fairly regular correspondence with Hornig, offering support, ideas, and corrections. Lovecraft's suggestions are frequently taken up with mechanical details concerning literary business, showing Lovecraft as conscientious and sometimes obsessive. Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, in his book "H.P. Lovecraft A Life", wrote this about The Fantasy Fan: "This is, canonically, the first 'fan' magazine in the domain of weird/fantastic fiction, and it inaugurated a very rich, complex, and somehwat unruly tradition--still flourishing today--of fan activity in this realm."

THIS POSTCARD: This postcard is postmarked June 23, 1934. It is postmarked from Saint Augustine, Florida at 7:00 pm (or so it appears, it is 7: something, the postmark is not dark enough to see on the time). Postmark is from Florida, where Lovecraft was staying with R.H. Barlow (Weird Tale author, the two collaborated on several stories, and Barlow as literary executor of Lovecraft's estate). The postcard features the "Old City Gates in St. Augustine, Fla" built in 1743 (most likely to the delight of the old gent from Providence, as he enjoyed architecture of the 18th Century. One paragraph features approximately 55 words (VERY short--shortest HPL postcard I have ever seen--great for Lovecraft on a Budget). The content is unpublished.

CONTENTS INCLUDE: Lovecraft comments that he just received the current issue of Fantasy Fan while "at Barlow's, and ... congratulate you ..." He briefly mentions staying in St. Augustine and that he will be going North again in the middle of July. Signed "HPL".

RARITY, VALUE, & GUARANTEE: Truly a gem. With this, we offer a lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity. Lovecraft postcards are become more and more rare, and soon, they just won't show up. In the 1970s Holographic Lovecraft items were seemingly everywhere. In the 1980s, as scholarly interest in Lovecraft increased his letters and postcards started getting bought up and disappearing off the secondary market. In the 1990s, Brown University started an agressive acquisition program to acquire all of Lovecraft's hand-written manuscripts, letters, postcards, and so forth. Thus in the new millenium, there is very little of this holographic material by the old gent from Providence. In the last five years we here at Arkham Books have searched diligently the Internet, Book Catalogs, and Auctions, and the man's epistles are just downright rare! We sold numerous postcards, starting in the $600.00 to $800.00 range some five years ago, to $950.00 three years ago, and now around $1000.00 to $1500.00 today depending on content and the recipient. Letters today, typically run $4000.00 (for a one-pager) and up (saw a nice two-page letter to Robert Bloch with great content listed at $6000.00 and a six and a half page letter for $15,000.00). Late last year on Ebay I saw a clipped H.P. Lovecraft signature (clipped from the return address portion of an envelope, and was just "H.P. Lovecraft") sell for $1500.00!! Simply put, his stuff is getting very rare and appreciating at a substantial cilp. Recently, we were lucky enough here at Arkham Books to acquire a few postcards to Charles D. Hornig, and will be offering them on Ebay. This particular card is a true rarity, as it is the shortest HPL card I have ever seen. As such, it is priced lower and offers Lovecraft on a budget. I've priced it lower to give folks an option of obtaining an HPL signature at a lower price (all of the other Hornig postcards we will be offering run 150 words and up, and are priced in the $1200.00 to $1400.00 range -- check our Ebay store for other signed HPL items). Good luck.

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