Rare works of detective fiction on offer at Heritage Auctions



2017-06-22 09:31:27

A major private collection of detective fiction is heading for sale at Heritage Auctions in September.

The Rare Books Auction in Dallas on September 14 will offer The KoKo Collection, featuring rare volumes from authors including Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Arthur Conan Doyle.

"The KoKo Collection will mark the auction debut of several historically important novels," said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books.

"A collection like this only comes along once in a lifetime and indeed required a lifetime to assemble."

Leading the sale are two rare first editions by Dashiell Hammett, the father of hard-boiled detective fiction.

Using his experiences as a former Pinkerton Agency operative, Hammett created the iconic private eye Sam Spade, along with a colourful cast of cops, thugs, gangsters and deadly dames that populated his works.

A copy of his 1929 debut novel Red Harvest is expected to fetch $30,000+, and a copy of his famous 1930 follow-up, The Maltese Falcon, comes with an estimate of $20,000+.

Further crime classics from the 1930s will include Paul Cain 1934 novel Fast One (est. $4,000); a rare copy of Raoul Whitfield's 1930 debut Green Ice (est. $2,000); and Sherwood King's 1938 novel If I Die Before I Wake, later adapted into the classic Orson Welles film The Lady from Shanghai (est. $2,500).

Fans of Raymond Chandler will have the chance to acquire a presentation copy of The Long Goodbye, his 1954 masterpiece featuring the laconic Phillip Marlowe, estimated at $4,000+.

The collection spans the entire history of the genre, and also offers a first edition copy of Tales (1845) by Edgar Allan Poe, estimate at $10,000+.

The volume of Poe's short stories includes 'Murder in the Rue Morgue', written in 1841, which is generally regarded as the first modern detective story.

Other notable works amongst the KoKo Collection include an inscribed copy of The Conjure-Man Dies (1932) by Randolph Fisher, the first published mystery novel by an African-American author, estimated at $4,000; and Fer-De-Lance (1934) by Rex Stout, featuring the debut of detective Nero Wolfe, estimated at $8,000.

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