Collecting Greene

Mike Hill, the editor of the Graham Greene Birthplace Trust’s A Sort of Newsletter put out an appeal in the February edition for subscribers to write something about their personal Graham Greene collections for inclusion in future editions of the magazine.

In timely fashion, there is an opportunity coming up to enlarge your collection. There are two lots of Greene’s works in a forthcoming auction which will be of interest – one which features Greene’s early pre-WWII novels and the other some of his later works.

Lot 196 of Forum Auctions Modern Literature Auction on 16 February  lists the following novels: The Comedians (two copies), The 10th Man, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, The Captain and the Enemy, Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party, Monsignor Quixote, Our Man in Havana, The Quiet American, Travels with My Aunt and A Burnt-Out Case. They are all hardbacks in their original dustwrappers. This lot has an estimate price of £100-150. This would be a good starting point for those interested in beginning a collection. Eleven (or twelve) new hardbacks in a local bookshop would cost more – provided the bidding doesn’t much exceed £150 that is!

Lot 197 is more pricey but nevertheless  enticing: The Name of Action, The Man Within, The Confidential Agent, A Gun for Sale, Brighton Rock, Stamboul Train. Fewer books but a collection of true rarities. The Name of Action is one of two novels Graham Greene unfortunately chose to ‘suppress’ after first publication. All these items date from 1929-1939, all are first editions, two being ‘second impression first editions’. One, Stamboul Train, has what looks on the website like a facsimile of the wonderful, art deco style Youngman Carter dustwrapper design (below). If these six novels all had their original wrappers the estimate would be astronomical. Lot 197 is estimated at £300-400.

If you are interested, type in Forum Auctions in your search engine. The sting in the tail though is the ‘buyer’s premium’ which adds 30% to the cost (inclusive of VAT). Oh, and don’t forget a delivery charge on top of that!