Monday, June 15, 2015

The Rarest of Robert E. Howard Collectibles

Jeffrey Shanks has done Howard Fandom a huge favor. This past weekend at the Robert E. Howard Days (REH Days) in Cross Plains, TX, Jeff sold facsimiles of an extremely rare book; The Hyborian Age by Robert E. Howard.

As Shanks details, "In 1938, [Donald] Wollheim, along with fellow New Yorker, John Michel, teamed up with west coast fans Forrest J. Ackerman, Russell Hodgkins, and Myrtle R. Douglas ("Morojo") to print the chapbook The Hyborian Age with the publisher listed as LANY Cooperative Publications."

Apparently less than 100 copies of this book were originally created and printed. The low amount, according to Shanks, makes the book one of the "rarest and most valuable" items of Howard collectibles. In the new introduction written by Shanks for this new edited edition, he explains the history behind the original book, why it was originally compiled, and provides photographs of several of the men involved in the original edition as well as a picture of one of the original editions. According to the introduction, Howard wrote The Hyborian Age essay without the intent of publication, but Howard ended up giving Donald Wollheim a copy of the essay. Wollheim then turned around and published it in a fanzine called The Phantagraph.

The Phantagraph
Feb. 1936
 Additionally, Shanks includes a list of books that Howard used to formulate his fictional prehistoric world. Other items of note included in this facsimile are a letter from H.P. Lovecraft to Donald Wollheim, a copy of The Hyborian Age Map created by Robert E. Howard, and the essay titled "A Probable Outline of Conan's Career" by P. Schuyler Miller & John D. Clark, Ph.D.

If you missed REH Days but are still interested in obtaining a copy of this book, you can message Jeff Shanks through the Skelos Press website. I know he intends to sell more copies through that website and eventually at Amazon. I highly recommend this volume to anyone who is a Robert E. Howard fan. Not only are you getting a nice piece of history, but you are getting a wonderful facsimile of an extremely rare collectible.

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