Heritage Auctions will offer the KoKo Collection of classic crime literature in its September 14 Rare Books Auction in Dallas.
The highlight is a first edition copy of Dashiel Hammett’s blood-soaked debut novel Red Harvest (1929).
Dashiell Hammett was a pioneer of hardboiled fiction
The story is a classic of the hardboiled genre, which pits tough detectives against organised criminals on one side and corrupt police bureaucracy on the other.
Hammett had worked for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency between 1915 and 1922, an experience that furnished him with all the material a crime writer could possibly need.
This copy is described as being in near fine condition and retains its original dust jacket.
It’s valued at $30,000, however another copy in similar condition realised $65,000 at Swann Auction Galleries in 2015.
There’s also a copy of Raymond Chandler’s final book The Long Goodbye (1953) - regarded by some critics as his best work.
This example again retains its original dust jacket and carries an estimate of $4,000.
Other writers featured in the auction include Arthur Conan Doyle, Kenneth Millar and Rex Stout.
James Gannon, director of rare books at Heritage, said: "The KoKo Collection will mark the auction debut of several historically important novels.
"A collection like this only comes along once in a lifetime and indeed required a lifetime to assemble."
As for the identity of the consignors? That’s to remain a mystery.
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