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Rare Holographic Postcard H.P. Lovecraft to Charles D. Hornig (Editor The Fantasy Fan), August 11, 1933 "Cape Cod Auto Map, Massachusetts" Signed "HPL", UNPUBLISHED!!
H.P. LOVECRAFT LETTERS & POSTCARDS: Truly a magnificent H.P. Lovecraft item. For those that know the Old Gent, they understand what a great epistolarian 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 unheard of). It is also surmised that fewer than 10,000 of the letters still survive. Of those, a vast majority are held in Brown University's H.P. Lovecraft collection at the John Hay Library. In fact, their aggressive acquisitions program for Lovecraft's manuscripts, letters, and postcards was (and is) so intense, that few remain in the hands of private collectors. Some believe that less than two hundred letters and postcards are 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 that very cornerstone. Since letters typically run into the thousands ($4000.00 and up is quite common for a one or two pager), a postcard is a more affordable way to own a piece of Lovecraftian history. In the last six years on Ebay and at various Rare Books Shows we have sold two letters and a number 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 postcards typically go between $900 and $1500, depending on the number of words (the highest price we have received for an HPL holographic postcard, was around $2200 for one of Brown University where Lovecraft wrote on the front where his house was in relation to the building in the postcard (and included an arrow to point out said location--as of this writing, I have listed a similar "directions by HPL" postcard in our Arkham Books store...check it out). Second highest was $1750.00 at World Horror Con 2008, and it had been written to weird tale author E. Hoffman Price). I typically start the standard HPL postcards at $1100 (and they do sell), if better content or of great interest, higher.
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 August of 1933, so this postcard is dated August 11, 1933. Two of Lovecraft's stories 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 (This "history of weird fiction" as HPL calls it, is mentioned in this postcard). This postcard has the beginning details on this important essay. 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 somewhat unruly tradition--still flourishing today--of fan activity in this realm."
THIS POSTCARD: This postcard is postmarked August 11, 1933, at 10:30 p.m.! (Probably dropped off at the Providence, R.I. station on one of Lovecraft's late night walks around his beloved city ... and thus the 10:30 p.m. postmark!). This is a very unique postcard as compared to all of the other postcards I have seen or read about. The reason is it includes a map on the front, of part of Lovecraft's beloved Massachusetts (and more so, the setting for many of HPL's stories AND the home of Arkham ... and thus Arkham Books). Showcases the Cape Cod area for Autos (which Lovecraft did not have, but would enjoy touring the countryside in). Typically Lovecraft sends cards of his beloved Providence, or at the very least, sites he enjoys from his travels (like George Washington's home, unique architectural items that are of interest to him, museum exhibits, and so forth). What his interest in an Auto Map was, I do not know. Yet another unanswered piece of the HPL puzzle.
Has the one cent Ben Franklin stamp of the day that Lovecraft was so fond of, which of course, comes complete with HP Lovecraft DNA on the reverse side (yes, you too can clone Mr. Lovecraft -- a concept right out of Re-Animator ... or sort of). Another oddity to this postcard, is all of the open space. If you have seen any of the Lovecraft postcards I have sold before (or currently have up ... or in a book), he uses every space to correspond. There is quite a bit left on this postcard. Has approximately 161 words (I counted them, as with all of Lovecraft's writing, it is so diminutive and he uses every space possible, this is a give or take a few words -- the address is not counted in that 161). The content is unpublished, and mighty nice content for such a short missive.
POSTCARD LOCATION: Image on the front of the postcard is of Cape Cod Massachusetts Auto Map.
CONTENTS INCLUDE: The most notable to this postcard is Lovecraft first off mentions his History of Weird Fiction and the copyright situation ("Supernatural Horror in Literature"): "The weird-fiction article is technically copyright in the issue of W. Paul Cook, who issued the amateur magazine containing it." Since Lovecraft carried on a good friendship with Cook, he further comforts Hornig by pointing out that Cook "will offer no objection to the reprinting of the thing." And that if Hornig is still concerned he can contact him and gives Cook's address, "7 Hancock St., Boston Mass." Moreover, Lovecraft talks a little bit about the possibility of revising the article for publication, "I could surely do this before you would want to use it" and also that if Hornig wants to use it as it, that is fine. Interestingly, Lovecraft offers a prophetic statement in "It's quite long--would make a swell book." Of course now, it is only offered in book form and considered by many to be the number one treatise on the weird tale (especially anything prior to the 1930s). Lovecraft thanks Hornig for a comment on a story, "Glad you liked the Witch House" which refers to Lovecraft's story "Dreams of the Witch House" which had just been published the month before this postcard was sent in Weird Tales magazine. (It was actually written a year before.) Lovecraft also offers Hornig some congrats as he had just begun to work with Hugo Gernsback's outfit of publishing such classic pulp magazines as Wonder Stories, Amazing Stories, and so forth. Lovecraft states "Revered congratulations on your congenial job. Hope it lasts." Lovecraft then laments Gernsback's "slow paying" but offers Hornig this hope "but I presume he is more regular with his actual staff." Finishes with "Best Wishes, HPL" Some really nice content for such a short missive, encompassing Lovecraft's Weird Tales essay, Lovecrat's short story "Dreams of the Witch House", to Gernsback's publications, and so forth. 161 Words (approximately), and quotes are like 98% correct ... I am NOT S.T. Joshi and am not an expert and discerning Lovecraft's minute scriblings ... so I do the best I can, but might miss a word here or there (but the concepts are there).
CONDITION: Overall, nice condition. Corners are mostly sharp with just a minimal bump on upper left hand corner. Perhaps a wee bit of wear (to edges as well), and a tiny corner creasing in lower right and at top of Duxbury (all very minor and typical wear as related to a card that has been through the US Mail system). The card is yellowing due to age as is common. Protected in a hard plastic sleeve.
RARITY, VALUE, & GUARANTEE: Truly a gem. With this, we offer a lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity, that this is indeed a vintage Lovecraft-written postcard! Lovecraft postcards have 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 six to eight years ago, to $950.00 to $1000.00 five years ago, and the last few years around $1000.00 to $1500.00 (with that one "gust" to $1750) 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 clip. 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. However, as with everything in the collectible market, the recession has brought prices down maybe 10% or so (not too bad on the higher end/rare items). Based on this, and the nature of the association, I believe my buy it now price is fair. Good luck.
PAYMENT: If you pay via Paypal, we will ship to a CONFIRMED ADDRESS ONLY! The reason is that Paypal ofers the seller no protection at all, unless address is Confirmed (we learned this the hard way -- $795.00 we were swindled out of!). Please, if you are interested in this postcard, contact us concerning Paypal payment if you have an Unconfirmed address--we will look at this on a case by case basis (based on feedback, reason, etc.). Therefore, we'll need to clear anyone wishing to pay this way (this includes almost ALL Foreign Ebay Buyers, as Paypal does not confirm most Foreign Addresses -- if you are in the U.K., Australia, or Canada, you should have a confirmed address and we'll be happy to ship to you).
SHIPPING: The price includes INSURED USPS Priority Mail Shipping in the United States. It will be packed very well (my shipping clerk has been with me for 18 years now and does a fantastic job--this will be packed like Fort Knox!!). NOTE ON FOREIGN SHIPPING: We can not falsify customs forms to lower the value, as our Post Office accepts a lot of items from us and they know that what we ship is of value (and not a gift). Moreover, the Insured amount has to equal the value. So please factor in your potential customs/tax costs with your purchase. Thank you.
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