Larry McMurtry’s Wells Collection To Auction

On April 8, Larry McMurtry’s collection of H.G. Wells items will be auctioned. According to Rare Book Week

Highlights include a true first edition of The Time Machine and a first edition of The Invisible Man, signed by the author. [Also] a first edition of Tales of Space and Time (London and New York: Harper & Brothers, 1900), inscribed by Wells to Henry James with an original drawing of Ugh-lomi, protagonist of “A Story of the Stone Age.”

McMurtry, winner of a Pulitzer for Lonesome Dove and an Oscar for his co-adaptation of Brokeback Mountain, is also a legend among booksellers as the owner of Booked Up in Archer City, TX. Edd Vick wrote about his visit there in 2012 when the business still occupied four buildings around the town square. That year McMurtry auctioned off 300,000 books, however, Booked Up No. 1 is still open today with a vast inventory of more than 150,000 volumes.

Separate from his bookstore business he has assembled many collections, including the Larry McMurtry Collection of H. G. Wells, part of Heritage Auction’s Rare Book Auction #6117 in New York on April 8-9. As Zachary Stacy explained in a recent article —

The collection was developed by Nina Matheson with help from Serendipity Books and added to by McMurtry. It contains items to highlight any Wells collection, including the true first edition of The Time Machine (New York: Henry Holt, 1895) with H. G. Wells’s name misprinted on the title page, The Island of Doctor Moreau (London: William Heinemann, 1896) in trial binding, and a signed first edition of The Invisible Man (London: C. Arthur Pearson, 1897).

Also going under the hammer are numerous association copies once owned by Wells, such as a first edition copy of the 1937 novel Star Maker presented to him by Olaf Stapledon.

Several other sf collectibles will be sold at the April 8 auction, such as a first edition, first printing of Dune, inscribed to John Pierce by Frank Herbert. And a presentation copy of Slaughterhouse-Five inscribed to the owner of Lord John press, Herb Yellin by Kurt Vonnegut, with a little improvised decoration: “Around this inscription, Vonnegut has drawn ten stars.” (Yellin, who passed away in 2014, published limited editions, some of them by Ursula K. Le Guin, Stephen King, Dan Simmons and Ray Bradbury.)

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One thought on “Larry McMurtry’s Wells Collection To Auction

  1. You know it’s an impressive SF collection when an 1831 edition of Frankenstein (3rd edition, 1st illustrated edition) doesn’t even get a mention 🙂

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