G. A. Henty rare books and memorabilia

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wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:59:05

G. A. Henty rare books and memorabilia are collectible items relating to English historical adventure novelist G. A. (George Alfred) Henty, (1832-1902).

Brief History/biography

Henty attended Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge and gave up his studies to volunteer, with his brother Frederick, for service in the Crimean War. He served with the Hospital Commisariat and was not a fighting soldier. Observing the conditions for British soldiers, his letters home were filled with vivid descriptions. His father sent these letters to the Morning Advertiser newspaper which printed them, and Henty was soon offered a job as a Special Correspondent, or War Correspondent.

Henty is now best known for his historical adventure fiction, of which he wrote 122 novels, and he is seen as epitomising the style of Boy’s Own Adventure stories. His novels typically centre around a young man or boy living through war or troubled circumstances. His stories influenced numerous other writers in what is termed ‘The Henty Tradition’. Much of Henty’s works went out of print after the 1930s, until a resurge of interest and reprints from the 1990s, with more than 50 publishers in the USA alone. First editions of the original printings are much sought after by collectors.

Types of rare books and memorabilia

Books

Bloomsbury Auctions

  • Rujub, the Juggler, three volumes (1893), first edition, sold for £1800 in July 2003.
  • A Search for a Secret, three volumes in one, (1867) first edition, sold for £1500 in November 1997.
  • The March to Magdala (1868), first edition, sold for £1000 in October 2005.
  • The Lost Heir (1899), first edition, sold for £340 in March 2001.

Bonhams

  • Out on the Pampas; or, the Young Settlers (1871) first edition, sold for £1,320 in December 2005.
  • The March to Magdala (1868) first edition, sold or £900 in February 2009.
  • A Woman of the Commune, (1895), Bell’s Indian and Colonial Library edition, sold for £720 in December 2005.

Sothebys

  • The Queen’s Cup, three volumes (1897), first edition, sold for £5,760 in December 2004.

Documents and Autographs

Bloomsbury Auctions

  • Correspondence and contracts between G. A. Henty and publishers Blackie and Sons concerning the publication and distribution of his books, sold for £1100 in December 2006.

Bonhams

  • Seaside Maidens, the summer number of Tinsley’s Magazine, sold for £1,600 in December 2005.

Guide for collectors

First editions of Henty’s works are very collectible, particularly in the original publisher’s cloth which was often decorative and gilt-stamped. They are usually worth up to several hundred pounds, but occasionally can fetch prices into the thousands. They are often sold together as a group of novels. Pieces that he wrote for magazines can also be worth a large amount. A website dedicated to him: www.gahenty.co.uk, provides information for collectors and researchers. Sadly this website has not been updated since 2001 and the best website now is www.HentySociety.org, with some information available but much more is available for members.

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