It’s been fun getting word that various people are griping that the first two REHupa mailing auctions I’ve held were both won by Howard collector Mark Corrinet, who many people are referring to as a “rich lawyer” who has cornered the market on REHupa mailings for all time. How dare he outbid the people who themselves were prepared to outbid everyone else for exactly the same reasons? The fact is, anyone out there could have outbid Mark if they wanted the mailings in question bad enough. It is, after all, how I myself acquired them in the first place: I bid high, not what I thought they were worth today but what I thought I would be willing to pay for them even if it was more than the general fanboys said they were worth. Apparently Mark is smart enough to do the same thing. After all, REHupa mailings are not getting any more plentiful, and once a mailing contains a first printing of a Howard item or some other treasure, it will be the first printing for all time. These things are only going to go up, up, up in value as the years go on, despite the people today who ridiculously claim that Mailings are worth no more than ten or twenty dollars, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. What rubbish. Such people either have never purchased mailings and don’t know what they are talking about, or else they don’t understand the collecting mindset.
As it so happens, Mark buys the mailings for his father, Howard fan extraordinaire Jay Corrinet, the same man who owns Howard’s original typewriter. Now in poor health, his Howard collection is one of the few things that continues to bring him great joy, and so Mark’s high bids for mailings comes from the most laudable of motivations, a son’s love for his father. Those of you out there who want to convince me that Mark is an opportunist, someone so very different from noble souls like yourselves, will have a tough road to hoe on that score.
Another complaint I have heard is that Mark is buying up duplicates of mailings, which is supposed to mean he cares not about reading them, but only hoarding them like Smaug the Terrible. Not true. Mark replies, “As a matter of fact I just arranged to purchase the majority of REHupas that were part of de Camp’s collection, combined with the ones I have, gives me over 70 of them. So there are a lot that I have no interest at all in. So tell the “fans” that I am going to start bidding up front with one bid. If I bid they better damn well plan on spending serious money. If I don’t bid up front its all theirs and as I said there are a lot of them I no longer need.” If Mark does have duplicates, most likely they are from having to purchase entire collections as a set, and the dupes will hit the market again someday.
So there you have it. A great many of the ones I’ll be selling are of no interest to Mark, so the people not willing to pay what the mailings are worth will have a shot at stealing them. But somehow I’m guessing that even with Mark out of the picture on some items, there will still be bidding wars as people try to snag what are clearly essential parts of any Howard collection worthy of the epithet “great.”
I’ll be posting new REHupas on eBay at a fairly snappy pace from now on, probably one a day, so there will be many opportunities for everyone to bid on the ones they want and possibly come away with a few of them. Keep an eagle eye on eBay, you never know what else is going to come up.
The next mailing on the agenda is REHupa #140 for August 1996. Coming in two meaty sections which combined total over two hundred pages, it offers a lot of interest to the Howard collector.
Section #1 has some great cover art by then-REHupan Dan Preece. Morgan Holmes was the OE during this time, and the a.p.a. was still recovering from the most sordid event in its history, the first time a member had been expelled. Western writer James Reasoner (whose blog you can read by clicking on the link under the BLOGROLL on this very blog) joined the a.p.a. in this issue. James is no longer a member, but here you can read his very first ‘zine. At this time, the a.p.a. had only nineteen members, giving you an idea of how rare this mailing is compared to the issues that sported thirty-plus members (and hence around thirty-six copies, including the six spec copies the OE normally requests). Honorary Members (a thing later discontinued) were still in play during this time, and that roster sported the names L. Sprague de Camp, Novalyne Price Ellis, Glenn Lord, and Roy Thomas. If you recall, this mailing occurred right after the 1996 Howard Days, and so has some trip reports of that event. In addition, The Whole Wide World was getting set to be released; in fact, some of the members had seen advance footage of the film at Howard Days. Therefore, this mailing is interesting on a number of fronts.
L. Sprague de Camp contributes a letter that shows him at his most bawdy, commenting in graphic terms on Robert E. Howard’s sex life or lack thereof. Glenn Lord offers an interesting two-page letter that gives some of the sordid details surrounding Howard publishing at that time. Remember, this was when Glenn had been forced out as agent to the heirs and there was tons of legal wrangling and mudslinging going on. You can’t read about it anywhere else but here.
There’s also a reprint of a Howard article that ran in Texas Monthly, some quotes about Howard from The Fantasy Fan news section, a scathing review of Conan of Aquilonia by Adrian Cole, an obit for the son of Tevis Clyde Smith, who died prematurely young in 1965, a Howard Days trip report by Reasoner, another by Dan Preece, a third by David C. Smith (author of the Oron books an a current REHupa member at the time), a reprint of a long Karl Edward Wagner interview, and lots of art, reviews, mailing comments, and tidbits about REH that you won’t find anywhere else.
Section Two begins with an absolutely silly article about the ruination of trees for paper use by Steve Trout, fun to read simply for its unintentional humorous value. J. D. Robinson begins redeeming this section with a nice article about Blood & Thunder in the silent movies of Howard’s era. Indy Cavalier presents Cold Steel #62 (to this day Indy has never missed a mailing since he joined REHupa) that has a great trip report of Howard Days that year, complete with lots of pictures. He even includes some newspaper articles published about the event and about Jack Scott. Rusty Burke’s zine Seanchai 78 has a lot to offer, including comments on Howard Days and several pieces that would later find their way into The Dark Man, making these appearances the first printings of these items. He also presents an expanded version of the article about de Camp’s editing that later appeared in Fantastic Worlds of REH.
Rick McCollum also presents a long trip report from Cross Plains in his own inimitable manner, including many good quality pictures and newspaper articles. He also has a nice weird comic with Howard as a character, the “Lost Ashley Dust pages,” Ashley Dust being a professional comic he once drew that featured Howard among others. Steve Tompkins weighs in with a large Expecting the Barbarians, with long essays on Howard’s “The Vale of Lost Women” and Charles Saunders’ Imaro books, plus lots and lots of mailing comments.
All in all, a very substantive mailing with lots of reading and collecting magic between the covers. Let the e-list dinks squawk all they want, but I thought these mailings were easily worth $100 a copy even when I bought them a few years ago, and several years has not changed my opinion in the least. REHupa has a ton of rare Howardia within the 30,000+ pages that have been printed over the last 34 years. For the serious Howard collector, a decent run of these mailings is an absolute must. Simple as that.