HP Lovecraft collection will auction in San Francisco

The Daryl Litchfield collection of horror writer HP Lovecraft and his publisher Arkham House is to cross the block at PBA Galleries in San Francisco.

The highlight of the October 5 sale looks set to be an unbound copy of Lovecraft’s The Shunned House, the pioneering author’s first published collection.  

Lovecraft Shunned House

Only 50 unbound copies of HP Lovecraft's The Shunned House exist 

Lovecraft enjoyed only limited success during his own lifetime, his stories appearing in pulp magazines such as Weird Tales or the Wolverine.  

It was only after his death that he began to receive the recognition he deserved.

This was largely due to the efforts of Arkham Press – founded by two of Lovecraft’s friends, August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, in 1939.

They released several collections of his short stories to enormous acclaim.

This unbound copy of The Shunned House was originally printed in 1928. It was one of around 300 copies intended for distribution by RH Barlow and the Recluse Press, although few made it out into the world.

A letter August Derlith dated 1962 explains: “The sheets remained in Barlow’s possession until he committed suicide in 1951, then they came to Arkham House.

“We sold perhaps 30 sets of unbound sheets, then bound 100.”

This is one of around 50 unbound sets in circulation. It’s valued at $4,000-6,000.

A bound copy of the Recluse Press printing of The Shunned House in black cloth is valued at $3,000-5,000.

There are around 100 copies of the bound edition known, hence the slightly lower valuation.

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