RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS
28 June 2009
Harold Acton. AQUARIUM. Duckworth, London 1923.
Current Selling Prices
POETRY / BRIDESHEAD GENERATION
‘ Drunk with the whiff of steak in passage-ways…’. (Young Sailor ).Sounds familiar, doesn’t it ? Or how about ‘Mr Bedlam’s Sunday Breakfast’ for the title of a poem? It is hardly surprising that the intoxicating influence of T .S. Eliot on an impressionable freshman like Harold Acton at Oxford in 1922/23 would have been reflected in this, his first book. Indeed, Acton was notorious for declaiming passages from The Waste Land from his window at Christ Church and for being one of the ‘ aesthetes ‘ at the University, along with Betjeman, Waugh and Connolly. Indeed Waugh, who is said to have drawn the best parts of Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited and Ambrose Silk in Put Out More Flags from Acton, claimed he and his friend shared ‘ gusto ..a zest for the variety and absurdity of the life opening to us, a veneration for artists, a scorn for the bogus.’ And this hedonism is certainly present in Aquarium. .
Aquarium has received very little critical attention since it appeared—which may be an example of reverse snobbism by writers on early modernism –the idea that someone with all the privileges that Acton enjoyed ( Italian palazzo, paintings by Italian masters on the walls etc ) could not possibly have written anything worth considering at the age of 19. But the fact remains that despite the verbal showing off of an adolescent flexing his muscles (nacreous, mephitic, fuliginous, nubiferousness are some examples ) many of the poems in Aquarium aren’t half bad.
The book shows obvious echoes of Edith Sitwell, whose Bucolic Comedies had appeared in a similar format from the same publisher a year earlier (Acton dedicates a poem to her ). But while Sitwell’s lyrics primarily show her musicality Acton’s poems are strongly visual, even when he is nicking the idea of a poem with a musical theme from the older poet, as in ‘Conversazione of Musical Instruments ‘. Acton seems inevitably drawn to images of a gorgeous opulence , which can be sometimes overpoweringly artificial and stifling. And though he can visualize the naturalistic urban scene, it is always with the disgust of an aesthete surveying the horrors of the Industrial Age.
‘ Blast-furnaces and gasometers, yards
Of bulky timber-joists and refuse heaps,
Pitch, cataclysmic mounds of dross and slag,
Deep, yawning pits, the seething pores of Hell,
Slim towers of factories, vertiginous
Soul-traps to vitiate and brutalize…’
While images of affluence are often preferred :
‘And in the sloe-gin heat of summer days
The sky’s enamel is not quite Limoges…’
Aquarium is a sought after book, possibly due to the Brideshead Effect . Four years ago it featured regularly in the Wants List of Book and Magazine Collector at £80. At about this time Ulysses were asking £375 for a copy inscribed by Acton . Another copy, this time inscribed to Desmond Harmsworth featured in a recent Bloomsbury sale***. Most, including my own copy, for which I paid twenty pence in a Birmingham bric-brac shop some 30 years ago, seem to lose bits or all of their back-strips. A glassine jacket has been mentioned by dealers , but I haven’t seen a copy with one. Today ABE have just three copies—oddly two from booksellers in Wales—and though all seem very similar in condition, prices range from £70 to £180. [ R.M.Healey]
Caricature of Acton (with megaphone) above by Evelyn Waugh--no mean draughtsman. Thanks Robin. I have a feeling that was me offering £80 in the BMC for 'Aquarium'. It was not so much that the book was a surefire earner but if someone had a copy they might well have other rarer survivals from the 1920s. A good book on this crowd is Martin Green's 'Children of the Sun'. I recall having Graham Greene's annotated copy in a time when I did printed catalogues. The Acton I would like to have is his Hours Press book 'This Chaos' - it summons up this jazzy era--especially the Bright Young Things, our own sonnenkinder. I have started to collect Hours Press in a leisurely way --should any reader see any about. Lastly someone who had met Sir Harold told me had the world's most fluting voice...
*** Indeed on 12/12/08 someone paid £660 for a lot described thus. ' Aquarium, upper hinge weak, original patterned-paper boards, lacking backstrip, nick to top edge of upper board, 1923; An Indian Ass, original cloth, slightly soiled, 1923; Four Sonnets, folded sheet stapled in original blue-grey wrappers, n.p., n.d., the first two first editions, signed and inscribed by the author to Desmond Harmsworth on front free endpaper ; and another from Acton's library with his signature...' Judging by the price the buyer was probably an end-user, rather than a dealer, unless the unnamed book was a great rarity. Note that the backstrip was missing yet again...
21 June 2009
David Bailey. DAVID BAILEY'S BOX OF PIN-UPS. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London .
Current Selling Prices
One of the victims of this recession has been photobooks. However like real estate in Britain and America they had become grossly overvalued and a correction was due. There were 3 big photo auctions in May and, whereas none bombed, results were lacklustre. Dealers tended only to be buying on commission and collectors only shelled out for stuff in exemplary condition.
Some surrealist items did well (the 1936 photo collage book 'La Septieme Face du Dé' by Hugnet made £10000 in it s Duchamp covers) and others badly --rude boy Hans Bellmer's not uncommon 'Les Jeux de la Poupée' failed to make its £40K reserve. Bailey's book turned up in 2 sales on the same day. Christies copy in a repaired box and lacking the cardboard throwaway insert made a punchy £4375. At Bloomsbury the gavel came down almost simultaneously at £1800 on a lesser copy ('missing lower cover and cardboard packing sheets stamped 'To be thrown away', the box with some marks and splits at edges.) Below is our original late 2007 report on this groovy book. It is hard to imagine the circumstances in which one would find a fine copy--but if one were found, even in these borassic times it would surely make £10,000+. Perhaps Lord Snowdon, the unsaleable photographer, still has his copy-- pristine because too nasty too touch with its pics of lowlife criminals and thugs. Possibly, like Churchill's Graham Sutherland portrait, it was destroyed.
PHOTOGRAPHY / 1960
Much sought after and valuable book from the mid 1960s before kaftans, bells, patchouli and psychedelia. I can remember as a teen seeing it in the shops and thinking it was expensive (£10?); there must have been quite a few printed and they got bought by the affluent and many got broken up and pinned up on walls of their kids -- the exact purpose for which they were intended. Of the few sets I have handled, quite often the photos had been taken down and put back in the box - with the pinholes at the corners as the evidence. In this auction description they have tape marks:
David Bailey's Box of Pin-ups. Description: A set of 36 portrait photographs (halftone prints), sheets 370 x 320mm., printed captions on versos, 15 (list available) with small tape marks at top corners, loose as issued in original box, upper cover with title, notes by Francis Wyndham and portrait of Bailey by Mick Jagger, lower cover with a repeat of Mick Jagger by Bailey, both cardboard packing sheets stamped "To be thrown away" present, the box with some marks and splits at edges, folio, Sixties style recorded and defined in a select gallery of movers and shakers from the worlds of music, fashion, art, photography, advertising, film and the stage. "Glamour dates fast, and it is its ephemeral nature which both attracts Bailey and challenges him." The text on the reverse of the image, penned by Francis Wyndham, cites Shrimpton as the inspiration behind this homage to visual culture: 'I want to do a book about images', said David Bailey, 'Jean's an image'.This set made £4000 in 2004. There is some fetish about sets that retain the piece of thick card printed with the instruction to throw it away. A fine set made £20K in a photo sale in 2006 when 2 sixties obsessed and presumably bunced up punters went into full combat in a classic pissing competition. Some might consider the 60s way overrated and Bailey too. His work is noticeably absent from Martin Parr's seminal 'Photobooks 1 & 2'. Bailey has been accused of lack of taste and certainly anybody seen wearing a studded and pleated denim flat cap (as DB did in his documentary about Cecil Beaton) would have a job explaining himself to the taste police + his photos of Marie Helvin wrapped up in newspaper are a sort of limp response response to the pervo chic of Hemut Newton. His real strength has been as a fashion photographer drawing out stylish and sexual response from the beauties of the Love Generation. Also as a collector of photography he showed interesting and innovative taste--at CSK I recall seeing him buy a Van Gloeden of a svelte young girl--a rare item as the good Baron mainly concentrated on boys.
'Pin-ups' was art-directed by the caricaturist Mark Boxer, later editor of Tatler and briefly editorial director of Vogue, and David Hillman, responsible for Nova in its glory years. The subjects included Mick Jagger, Terence Stamp, Brian Jones, Kasmin, Jean Shrimpton, John Lennon & Paul Mccartney,Beaton, Rudolf Nureyev, Michael Caine, Hockney, Snowdon, the Kray Brothers and others. The strong objection to the presence of the Krays on the part of Lord Snowdon was the major reason no American edition of the "Box" ever appeared, nor a British second edition was ever issued. Gerald Scarfe, regarding the book as obsequious, responded promptly with ‘Gerald Scarfe’s Box of Throwups’ - a book I have never seen and which may be just a contribution or a ghost. Image below is of Bailey's muse - the pulchritudinous Jean Shrimpton aka 'The Shrimp.'
VALUE? Not impossibly rare - the print run was quite high because it was trendy material. However fresh, complete, unhandled examples with the box firm and intact are pretty scarce. Copies have made as little as $3000 in auction in the last 3 years and defective copies less, on the other hand they can climb to $10,000 and beyond. No copies at present on any internet bookmalls. People used to actually sell the pictures individually like some botanical breaker--think £100 a plate. Possibly to future generations the photos will be like Julia Margaret Cameron's highly prized photos of Victorian beauties and celebs. On the other hand the 60s era may be seen as less 'far out' and amazing when the boomers are no longer around to proclaim its ecstasies.
16 June 2009
There is an old story about a Cecil Court bookseller. His son turned up one day and reported that he had failed his A levels and would not be going to university. The father said 'Ah well you'll just have to go into the book trade...' Until recently most booksellers were uneducated men, except at the highest end of the trade and possibly the fringes. Now there is no need for an education especially with the interweb--there you will find all you need to know to sell a book and, more usefully, the price you can get. With experience, guile and indefatigable industry the dealer will fairly soon learn the books that make money and crucially those that don't. John Dunning's bookdealer Janeway hero was a policeman and bruiser and there are several ex-coppers in the trade, not to mention ex-army and ex-gravedigger (not that any of these jobs necessarily exclude being educated.)
These wise dealers tend to stick with the bleeding obvious --Fleming, Rowling, Rackham, Narnia, Mockingbird, Steinbeck and Hem, mountaineering, polar exploration, atlases, sets of Jane, Dickens, fore-edge paintings, colour plates, Sam Beckett & Jimmy Joyce, Churchill etc., It doesn't matter that they know nothing of Dadaism, Oulipo, the School of Night or the Harlem Renaissance--this information will appear at a keystroke. Education, in some ways, will hold the dealer back and he or she can waste valuable time browsing obscure tomes out of whimsy or a misguided thirst for knowledge. An American friend and dealer recently met up with his old Harvard pals (now mostly stinking rich) at a reunion and told them he had become a bookdealer. Their reaction was one of pity, one even remarked 'what went wrong with your life?!'
The dealer instinct is more important than knowledge of books. If you can trade rugs or mirrors or soya beans you can probably trade books. You buy a book for a dollar and sell it for $2 (or preferably $5). You need a laptop, a pencil and a rubber (eraser--preferably pink) and you're away. The writer Javier Marias encountered a dealer in Buenos Aires -
'... a type... whom I though had disappeared from the face of the earth, except, perhaps, from England, where everything seems to persist in its original or Dickensian state. I mean the type of book dealer who knows absolutely nothing about what he stocks and sells, and therefore doesn't usually mark his books with prices, but decides how much to charge on the spot after hearing the prospective buyer's query, and particularly the tone in which it is made. Such a dealer is guided less by the binding, the print run, the date of edition or the author than the interest betrayed in the customer's way of looking at and handling a particular volume...
For these men, we buyers must, I suppose, be an open book; our reaction tells them much more about the tome in our hands than the tome could have told them when it was resting on its shelf a minute before. They know nothing about their wares but they do know how to drill into the human psyche; they've learned to interpret the slight trembling of fingers that go to the spine of a book, the momentary blinking of someone who can't believe his eyes are seeing the title they've sought for years; they know how to perceive the speed with which you seize this long-wanted but unfindable book, as if - and although you're alone in the bookshop - you were afraid the swifter glove of another hunter might appear precisely at that moment and snatch it from you. In the presence of one of these disciples of Sherlock Holmes, you feel as closely observed as an inmate in a prison yard who knows the guard is scrutinizing his every movement and gesture. In the presence of such a book dealer you must rediscover, in self-defense and in defense of your wallet, the art of dissimulation: you must control your emotion, your impatience, your agitation and your joy, making, instead, a show of disinterest in or even disdain for the thing you most covet; you must count to ten before taking down from the shelf the volume your eyes have fastened on in disbelief and greed...'
The smart way around such a dealer is, of course, to make a pile of irrelevant books around your desired treasure, thus drawing attention away from it. If the bastard then looks up every book you are, however, stuffed...
12 June 2009
The polymath. A few are to be found in the trade. Ridiculously over educated, versed in several languages with the ability (usually) to decipher titles in Russian, Greek, Atabic, Chinese and even Japanese. Their natural home is Berkeley California. Often of unkempt appearance; their books, too, are sometimes a little scruffy. Colleagues in the trade, some barely literate, urge them to go on 'Who Wants to be Millionaire' but their trash knowledge (or lack of it) would let them down. The fact that Lembit Öpik married one of the Cheeky Girls (for example) has passed them by (pic below)
Very useful as antiquarian booksellers where their Latin helps and they can find significance and saleable features in the dullest old tome. They can identify the first book on Buddhism published in South America or the first kosher cookbook in Ladino or spot a Buxton Forman or Major Byron forgery at 10 feet or even ferret out an undeclared facsimile (woefully overpriced) in some ignorant dealers stock. Possessed of a Funes like memory, fond of puns, sometimes, but not always, a good cook, superb musician and dangerously experimental chemist. Some are libidinous, some uxorious, some live like monks--oddly enough they are seldom boring.
Not to be confused with the faux polymath bookseller--he (always male) thinks that he has absorbed vast quantities of knowledge from his books by osmosis and wears a permanent look of self congratulation. Often a specialist with a good knowledge in his area but little outside of it, he can appear at first to be a brainbox but once you get him off his subject he may seem as dim as a Toc H lamp (as my father used to say.) If, as sometimes happens, he wins some great collection and becomes temporarily wealthy, his vanity knows no bounds and he will fill shelf after shelf with pompous overpriced books and haunt book fairs braying about great auctions of the past etc., The world of modern first editions and even art has similar polymathic types, often sleeker but seldom with such depth and width of knowledge. More types to follow...
07 June 2009
Kingsley Amis, BRIGHT NOVEMBER. (1947 ) £400 - £2,000
Philip Larkin, THE NORTH SHIP. (1945 ) £750 - £1,500
‘ The Fortune Press ‘ , Philip Larkin complained in 1945, ‘ is only a yelping-ground for incompetents who can’t get a hearing elsewhere’ . At the time Larkin had just posted his novel Jill to the owner of the Fortune Press, R.A.Caton, who was also preparing to bring out his debut collection of poems, The North Ship. The protracted publication of both books and the censorship of Jill by Caton ( himself, ironically, a publisher of mild homosexual porn ) kept their author in a fury of irritation and frustration for years —a state of mind which was soon to be shared by his friend Kingsley Amis, whose own first slim volume, Bright November was to be taken on by Caton. Both men concocted private, long-running jokes about Caton, and according to Larkin, Amis never lost an opportunity of introducing the seedy publisher into his novels, sometimes under a thinly disguised pseudonym.
This particularly pair of ‘ incompetents ‘ were, of course anything but, and when their fame grew Bright November and The North Ship became legendary rarities -- almost as scarce, and equally desirable, as the first volumes of poetry by Graham Greene and William Golding. At present there are only three firsts of The North Ship on ABE and eleven of Bright November. Prices range ridiculously for similar copies of the same edition.
But seekers after desirable modern firsts from the Fortune Press don’t have to spend hundreds or indeed look too far for other worthy poets. Arguably, Caton published more debut volumes by good poets than just about any other publisher in the UK. And considering ( as far as we know, for Caton was famously secretive ) that he operated alone ( or with minimal assistance ) from a damp and chaotic basement storeroom in Belgravia —this was an astonishing achievement. Having begun in 1925 as the vanity publisher of C Day Lewis’s 'Beechen Vigil'*, which after being peddled around Oxford, made its author a small profit, Caton by 1939 had published some of the earliest work by Lawrence Durrell, was taking on a raft of very talented poets of the thirties, including Gavin Ewart, Roy Fuller and Julian Symons, before moving on to such Neo-Romantics as Henry Treece, Nicholas Moore, Francis Scarfe, Tambimuttu, and Drummond Allison. In all, according to his bibliographer Timothy D’Arch Smith, he published more than 600 books between 1924, when he set up his press, and the late sixties, when he finally shut up shop. He died in 1971.
Of the Fortune Press poets most have disappeared into obscurity. Not surprisingly, when most were true ‘ incompetents ‘---wannabe poets with no discernable talent. Many were eccentrics; one or two achieved a dubious notoriety. For instance, Sir Anthony de Hoghton, a scion of that Catholic Lancashire family who owned that romantic ruin Hoghton Tower, which you pass on the train going to Blackburn, persuaded Mark Boxer to publish a poem that began ‘ God’s in His garage, cranking up his Bentley ‘in a Cambridge student magazine— for which Boxer was expelled for blasphemy . In the end, it is said, de Hoghton ended up as a beggar on the streets on London.
Neither Amis nor Larkin received a penny for their work , but Caton did manage to recompense a few ( in 'Inside the Forties' Derek Stanford, who gives a graphic description of his dealings with the publisher, claimed to be one of the lucky ones ). Many were happy to pay Caton for the thrill of seeing their poems in print . In return Caton, by listing his authors and their works on the backs of each dust jacket, made his customers feel as valued as any of the poets of the more eminent houses, such as Faber. At the same time he cut corners to keep down costs . Apparently, in the early years of the war, he stockpiled a huge amount of cheap binding cloth of various colours and textures, which accounts for the variety of bindings you can find. In the war years and for some time afterwards bindings were generally shoddy, as in my copy of Patterns and Poems by Patrick Tudor –Owen, and Howard Sergeant’s anthology, For Those who Are Alive ( where the glue seems to have seeped through the cloth ), In contrast, by the fifties, when presumably Caton had become more prosperous and could afford good binding material) you seen some fancy bindings. For instance, some copies of Girls and Stations (1952), the fifth Fortune Press title by Terence Greenidge, the Oxford friend of Waugh, and fellow member of the Hypocrites Club , have, for some reason, mock alligator skin bindings, while copies of Raymond Tong’s Angry Decade (1951) are bound to the highest commercial standards. Incidentally, it was in a copy of the latter title that I was delighted to find a specimen of Caton’s handwriting on a review slip.
Fifty or sixty years on, most of the early Fortune Press authors are dead . Perhaps the longest lived at 95 was Hindu poetic superstar Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan , the sought after English translation of whose classic, The House of Wine, was published by Caton in 1950. Another who died recently was poet-pugilist Vernon Scannell, who famously listed ‘ hating Tories ‘as one of his hobbies in Who’s Who. When prompted by a pint in his Otley local he recalled Caton as ‘ a slightly sinister old boy, a kind of Graham Greene character ‘.Derek Stanford died recently, but still alive at 89 is Margaret Crosland, the biographer of the Marquis de Sade, Edith Piaf and Colette, who sixty years later followed up her Strange Tempe of 1946 with a further collection of poems. When I interviewed her she could still remember visiting Caton in his lair. ‘ He looked like a second-rate accountant, wearing the traditional dirty raincoat, on his way to a sex shop ‘.
As I said, there’s some good poetry out there .If most Fortune Press books rarely fetch more than a tenner, the highlights do much better. Titles to look out for are Poems and Songs (1939 ) by Gavin Ewart ---the first book by this witty one-time ad man and lithograph salesman, who made his debut in New Verse while still a public schoolboy with the scandalous ‘Phallus in Wonderland’. Poems and Songs is not that rare and most copies can be had for well under £100 . However, for some reason or other, one American bookseller wants $175 for his ordinary copy, whereas for a further $25 another American will sell you David Gascoyn
e’s own signed copy. Also worth having is Roy Fuller’s debut Poems (1940). Through ABE you can choose either an ex library wreck with 2 pages missing for 5 quid or a choice copy contain a postcard from Fuller to Cyril Connolly referring to Caton. It might be worth the extra cash to learn what Fuller actually thought of little Reg. (Caton pictured left.)
More extravagantly priced is a copy of Dylan Thomas Poems of 1934 which Caton cheekily reissued in 1942 at the height of Dylan’s fame—a bit of a coup this, but Caton was nothing if not an opportunist. The princely sum of $1467 is demanded for this, presumably because the Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive has inscribed it to Mary and Herman Peschmann ( who they, ed ? ). But the loudest guffaws should be reserved for copies of Terence Greenidge’s Girls and Stations. Either the Waugh connection or the Betjeman foreword, or the fact that the author’s first Fortune Press title, The Magnificent (1933) was ordered to be destroyed for obscene libel , must be responsible for two dealers demanding the same sum of $203.81for their jacketless copies. Lastly, if you really insist on jackets and don’t mind being nagged, there’s a bookseller in Margate who will for £25 sell you a copy of 'Patrick Freed' by composer and Busoni scholar Terence Gervais White ‘ in a very good minus d/w of the SCARCE first edition. Copies in d/w are VERY SCARCE ‘. Yes, we heard you the first time, dude... (R.M. Healey)
* Still oddly ubiquitous, although now hard to find for much less than a £100. At one point I had 3 copies. Only 11 offered on ABE this week...and by the way there is Tim D'Arch Smith's excellent bibliography of the press (Rota 1983) with more good info on the life and foibles of the enigmatic Caton. At one point we (Any Amount) had a station wagon full of Fortune Press, now almost all gone, including multiples of jacketless North Ships and many by Aubrey Fowkes (boy does he sell) under his various names. They came from the manse (near Edinburgh) of the 1970s 'Fanny Hill' publisher whose name escapes me...(ed.)
01 June 2009
I once bought a few shelves of old books from the Borough of Brent in London. At the time they were famous for their dour doctrinaire political correctness; sure enough above the shelves they had a notice to the effect that 'the Borough of Brent does not endorse the views expressed in these books.' Thus distancing themselves from the racism and sexism of nineteenth cetury novels, the period anti-semitism and xenophobia of Buchan, Sapper and Dornford Yates etc.,. I was told this was as a consequence of complaints received from literalist locals...anyway above this posting should hang a sign 'Bookride abhors the views expressed in these books.'
Last week I bought a table full of right wing books. Not jackboot stuff , no Mosleyite brownshirt effusions (distasteful but much wanted) but more the intellectual right wing - the post Nietzchean, anti-democratic crowd--believers in aristocracy, racial theorists in the line of Arthur de Gobineau, opponents of egalitarianism, dabblers in eugenics, haters of degeneracy. Certainly the authors would not make great dinner companions but their books are undeniably saleable--more so than the left wing if you can put up with the customers. More than once in our shop I have even seen collectors of left wing literature discussing their books with right wing collectors--a temporary comradeship established through book collecting.
Here was Anthony M Ludovici, (1882 –1971) an English philosopher, Nietzschean sociologist and social critic. Almost laughably right wing -he opposed Jews, Arabs, foreigners, and 'odd people' — eccentrics, cranks and fanatics — having anything to do with government. His books, unless grossly overpriced sell with alacrity at healthy sums. Here also his associate, mentor and fellow translator of Nietzsche Oscar Levy the German- Jewish author of The Revival of Aristocracy (1906) and The Idiocy of Idealism (1940) both very hard to find and in nice shape worth £50 or more each with his 'My Battle for Nietzsche' in England proving almost unfindable. De Gobineau was here. sadly only as reprints. His major work Essai sur L'Inélgalité des Races Humaines (Essays on the Inequality of the Human Races 1853 - 55) can fetch over £4000. He has a lot to be responsible for having first developed the racialist theory of the Aryan master race. The Wikiman says '...Hitler and Nazism borrowed much of Gobineau's ideology, though Gobineau himself was not particularly anti-Semitic. When the Nazis adopted Gobineau's theories, they were forced to edit his work extensively to make it conform to their views, much as they did in the case of Nietzsche.' Here is a bloody useful 2 volume work of a right wing theorist, one Edgar Julius Jung (no relation) author of 'Der Herrschaft der Minderwertigen' (oddly translated as 'The Rule of the Inferiour.') Although opposed to decadence and liberalism he dared to criticise the thuggery of the Nazis and was murdered by the S.S. in the 'Night of the Long Knives (1934).
The prize item should have been the much desired book by Francis Parker Yockey (aka Ulick Varange) called 'Imperium'. The original from 1948 in 2 volumes can fetch over £2000, enough for a luxurious (but short) holiday in the Eurozone. Alas I merely found a handsome reprint (some chancers want a £100 + for it but realistically a £50 note is all that can be achieved.) Yockey was a far right fascist theorist continuously pursued by the FBI for over a decade -he was eventually jailed in San Francisco and swallowed a cyanide capsule - committing suicide in order to protect the anonymity of his political contacts. His book 'Imperium' argues for a race-based, totalitarian path for the preservation of Western culture. It was opposed by foaming Nazis such as Colin Jordan and Lincoln Rockwell as they felt his more socialistic ideas would undermine true Nazism.
Usefully there was a load of Nietzsche (sells like hot cakes) , some Schopenhauer, a decent boxed set of Spenglers 'Decline of the West' and a 4 vol set of Jakob Grimm's 'Teutonic Mythology' + a bit of 'Occult Reich', fascinating fascism, all stuff to look out for at boot sales, library sales, flea markets and those rare shops not connected to the beastly web.
Lastly some useful information about a moderarately great 'sleeper'--not many people know that Ludovici wrote poetry (much wanted) but also several unfindable novels including 'Mansel Fellowes (1919) + a novel under the pseudonym David Valentine 'Poet's Trumpeter' (1939.) I have a customer...