RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

31 May 2008

King Kong (1932)


Delos Wheeler; Edgar Wallace & Merian C. Cooper. KING KONG. Grosset & Dunlap, New York. [1932]

Current Selling Prices
$4000-$9000 /£2000-£4500


CULT FICTION / FANTASY / MOVIE RELATED
The great Grosset & Dunlap title. Normally books from G & D are worthless reprints but this time they published a true first. It is a photoplay edition based on the screen play by James Creelman and Ruth Rose; originally it was conceived from an idea by Edgar Wallace and Merian C Cooper. There are stills from the classic monster movie on the endpapers. The book itself has lime green boards. The rarest of all photoplay editions - better than Dracula, Rue Morgue, Metropolis etc.,

It is quite uncommon in the jacket which often shows up professionally restored due to its value. Copies on the web at present from $4000 to $9000 dollars, the latter for a decent but slightly frayed and slightly chipped example entirely unrestored. A fine copy would easily top $10,000. In auction a copy ('in d/j with minor wear & scratches') made $9500 in 2005 with commissions probably taking it towards $11K. It was at the Drapkin sale and was in folding case by the Dragonfly Bindery. These boxes are now generally considered slightly naff but at the time added value - in some cases a lot. One for the Edgar Wallace completist and probably worth 5 times more than any other Wallace item. Unlikely to show up in a library sale or thrift shop as King Kong is a big name known high and low and the book screams mega dollars. One dreams of a fine copy with a brown paper wrap protecting its fine jacket put there because the cover might frighten the nippers...one dreams on.

Outlook? Upwards and onwards. More movies will be made and books with visual impact are holding their own. It's the age we live in.
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