Also taking place in NY, the auction includes the second part of the Otto Penzler Collection of Mystery Fiction. Penzler has spent most of his life collecting prized first editions and opened the Mysterious Bookshop in Midtown Manhattan in 1979.
Heritage rare books director James Gannon said: “His collection is a combination of quantity and quality that few can match. A main focus of this group is English mystery and crime fiction, and it features some exceedingly popular authors such as Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens and GK Chesterton.”
One of the top lots is a first edition with unrestored jacket of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (London, William Heinemann, 1938), estimate $40,000). The saleroom says this edition is “so rare there is only one other copy known to have made it to the auction block, and that one had a restored jacket”.
Collins short stories
Another stand-out Penzler lot is After Dark (1856) by Wilkie Collins. This is a first-edition presentation copy of Collins’ first collection of short stories in two volumes, all but one of which were published in Charles Dickens’ Household Words before being collected in this work.
It is inscribed: To W.S. Herrick / from / Wilkie Collins / February 1856. Herrick not only is personalised in the inscription, but also is named by Collins in the preface: I must also gratefully acknowledge an obligation of another kind to the accomplished Mr W. S. Herrick, to whom I am indebted for the curious and interesting facts on which the tales of ‘The Terribly Strange Bed’ and ‘The Yellow Mask’ are founded.
Herrick, a portrait painter, left his ownership signature on the front free endpaper of the second volume.