In a previous posting, eBay madness, I noted some of the Howard items being hawked for ridiculous prices at that site. Apparently I spoke too soon. Has there ever been a time when there was such a magnificent variety of Howard items on eBay, and at such absurdly bloated prices?
Grant Conans for $200 a pop when they are easily available elsewhere at $20? Bob Price booklets for up to $100, not as a hotly contested bid but as a minimum starting price? A freaking REH Days postcard that is widely available for fifty cents each June being offered by James Van Hise for a “Buy It Now” price of $20? This is outrageous.
And the weirdest thing is that all of this stuff has hit within the last week or so, and from a wide variety of different sellers. If one dealer had tried to game the market in this way, that’s one thing. But with so many items listed from multiple sellers, it makes you wonder what is happening. Did the World Fantasy Convention somehow convince dealers that there is a large Howard market out there, a market they were previously unaware of? Is there just a centennial swell at play? Whatever it is, it’s damn strange.
Browsing through the list one can see the Grant Conans, the Gnome Conans, assorted pulps, the Bob Price booklets, assorted REHupas, Howard Collectors, the Baen paperbacks, Jonathan Bacon’s old Fantasy Crossroads, all the early Dark Man issues, all three issues of Cromlech, foreign fanzines signed by Glenn Lord, Amras, Lone Star Fictioneers, an Always Comes Evening for a flat $1500, a 1937 Weird Tales for $275. It’s also amazing how many items are listed at set prices, with the dealers refusing to let them be auctioned so that the market could naturally determine the highest bid.
I guess it’s just possible that collectible prices for REH are actually going through the roof, but I think it’s much more likely that these dealers are fishing for suckers, and most of these items will never sell at such ludicrous prices. That’s the reason the dealers have them locked down with high “Buy It Now” prices rather than auction them, because they are fairly sure they would never get these amounts in an open market. I’m not a collector (thank God), but if I was I would forget about this forum and do my searching at abebooks or addall, where prices are reasonable and fairly competitive. Looking at all of this sitting out there blows me away. I’m really interested to see how much of it sells. Wow.