Two-Gun Bob's Saloon - The Pulps of Robert E. Howard
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I can understand the original printings of the Howard stories in Fight selling for what they do, but can anyone explain why Fights with the late 30s/ early 40s reprints of these stories often end up selling for around $300 in average condition at auction?

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26 minutes ago, rjpb said:

I can understand the original printings of the Howard stories in Fight selling for what they do, but can anyone explain why Fights with the late 30s/ early 40s reprints of these stories often end up selling for around $300 in average condition at auction?

I have been wondering that myself. One of those fetched $825 and another $800 at the Adventure House Gobbett auction last week. Two guys engaged in a bidding war ("Oysterstew" and "David"). They are not easy to come by, for sure, but nowhere near the original printings as far as I can tell. Craziest price for me was Action Stories 04/35 in fair condition which fetched $850. The much rarer Super-Detective Stories, May 1934, fetched $330 in a nice VG. Too much cash to spend, or am I missing something here?

Edited by Xaltotun
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3 minutes ago, Xaltotun said:

I have been wondering that myself. One of those fetched $825 and another $800 at the Adventure House Gobbett auction last week. Two guys engaged in a bidding war ("Oysterstew" and "David"). They are not easy to come by, for sure, but nowhere near the original printings as far as I can tell. Craziest price for me was Action Stories 04/35 in fair condition which fetched $850. The much rarer Super-Detective Stories, May 1935, fetched $330 in a nice VG. Too much cash to spend, or am I missing something here?

Robert E. Howard is one of the pulp creator names the comic book collectors actually know.  My guess is they grabbed on to the name and things went crazy from there.

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I checked the bidders on the Super-Detective, and sure enough it's Oysterstew who won it, but no David against him, so he got it pretty cheap. Super-Detective and early Fight are "uncommon" in Bookery's guide, while the later Fight are not, and that has mostly been my experience. It was the second time I saw (online) a Super-Detective with the Howard story for sale. I grabbed the first one I saw immediately.

It will be interesting to watch the result of the eBay auction on this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Pulp-Magazine-FIGHT-STORIES-Winter-1940-ROBERT-E-HOWARD-Boxing-Yarn/224412360014?hash=item344004dd4e:g:iLAAAOSwxxlgaj8-

There's quite a lot of activity for a pulp that's not in so good condition, and we are still four days before it closes.

I know that the bunch of Fight and Action Stories from Glenn Lord's collection sold for way more than anticipated at Windy City couple years ago (2 to 4 times what they were expecting), but it was difficult to say if this was because it was Glenn's collection or simply because people wanted those pulps. I'd love to hear your theories, if you have any.

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Fight Stories, November 1930, with "Champion of the Forecastle"

Funny tidbit: there's a weird white patch at the bottom right corner of this one. Over the years, I have owned three different copies of this pulp, and the white patch was present on two, but not the third, so I guess something happened at the time this was printed, and some copies have it, others don't.

Fight Stories - 1930-11.jpg

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And the next-to-last entry in my REH Fight Stories, the February 1932 issue, with the hilariously funny "Viking of the Gloves". Howard was quite unhappy when Fiction House started to cut down on rates and was only offered $60 for that tale. Just a few weeks later, Fiction House suspended publication of the pulp.

 

 

Fight Stories - 1932-02.jpg

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A great selection of early Howard Fights!  I've been collecting them too, but have only managed six so far.  Tough to find.

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They are really tough to come by, and even more so in nice condition. Same goes for Action Stories. Much more so than Weird Tales. My theory on this is that despite its low print run, WT was bought by the geeks and nerds of the time, natural-born collectors. Generic pulps were read and discarded or not cared for. I don't have any data to back this up, though. Just a hunch.

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And the last of the original Howard Fight Stories, the March 1932 issue (with "Night of Battle").

Fight Stories ceased publication with the next issue, and wouldn't be revived until 1936. Howard was very probably working on another Costigan tale ("The Turkish Menace") when he learned that Fiction House was discontinuing the title. That story survives in incomplete form.

 

Fight Stories - 1932-03.jpg

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Confession time: while i really enjoy the Steve Costigan yarns, I don't like the Kid Allison ones. Howard completed 5 Allison tales, sold three, and left several unfinished. The three published stories appeared in Street & Smith's Sport Stories Magazine in 1931. Howard wrote to Lovecraft: "I’m sending you a Sport Story magazine containing a yarn of mine, the first of a new series, the continuance of which I have an idea will depend a great deal on the expression of the readers’ opinions. If you like the yarn, I’d be greatly obliged if you’d drop Street & Smith a line saying so, that is if it isn't too much trouble. If the publishers receive some letters approving my work, they’ll be more likely to continue buying stories of the series". Incredibly enough, Lovecraft did so, though the letter has not survived.

Bookery's doesn't list those issues as uncommon, but I have very rarely seen any of the Howard issues for sale.

Anyway, here is the first of three Sport Stories, containing "The Man with the Mystery Mitts". It is in beautiful condition, down to the overhang.

Sport Story Magazine - 1931-09-25.jpg

Edited by Xaltotun
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