Reuters reports that a man preparing a house for demolition in England has discovered a postcard hidden behind the fireplace address to J.R.R. Tolkien, who once lived there. The sender of the postcard? Apparently it’s none other than Howardom’s own resident whipping boy, Lin Carter.
The report goes on to mention that Carter is the writer of Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings, a book that has as poor a reputation in Tolkien fandom as Carter’s Conan pastiches do in our neck of the woods. My favorite capsule dismissal of the book comes from Tom Shippey, who wrote in his masterful The Road to Middle Earth that Carter “prepared for his commentary on Tolkien by looking up ‘philology’ in ‘the dictionary’, to little profit — maybe it was the wrong dictionary.”
Reuters goes on to describe the postcard as perhaps being worth a “small fortune.” That’s going more than a bit too far, but it’s a cool find nevertheless. In REH’s case, I think we are far from exhausting the number of Howard items left to be unearthed in various people’s basements and garages. New pictures still crop up (witness the young Dr. Howard picture from The Cross Plains Review found in 2006), as well as new typescripts (as recently as last December, The Cimmerian presented a previously unknown version of Howard’s poem “Cimmeria”).