DALLAS – Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest is among the leading lots in the Sept. 14 Rare Books Auction at Heritage Auctions. It is part of The KoKo Collection.
Private Investigation Tales Fuel Hammett Offering
Drawing on his experience as a Pinkerton operative, Hammett wrote the novel in 1929. It is among the defining archetypes for the literary private investigator. The book carries an estimate of $30,000. Hammett’s 1930 follow-up, The Maltese Falcon (estimate $20,000) is up for bid. It is his most popular work and among the most beloved of the genre. This is thanks in no small part to Humphrey Bogart’s brilliant turn as Sam Spade in John Huston’s 1941 cinematic adaptation.
Enjoy a clip from the movie adaptation of “The Maltese Falcon”…
“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.”
Pulp Magazine Classics Headlining Lots
The collection features several books by authors who, like Hammett, wrote for the hard-boiled pulp magazine Black Mask. Several works by Raymond Chandler are in the sale. A presentation copy of his last masterpiece The Long Good-Bye (1954) comes forth with an estimate of $4,000. More Black Mask contributors crossing the auction block will be Paul Cain with his tough-as-nails Fast One from 1934 (estimate $4,000) and Raoul Whitfield with his 1930 uncommon debut Green Ice (estimate $2,000).
The enduring popularity of crime literature owes no small debt to the frequency of successful film adaptions made during the Classical Hollywood era, and The KoKo Collection includes several of these landmark books into film. Little Caesar by W.R. Burnett comes with an estimate of $3,000. Dating to 1929 the story becomes a film two years after publication. It is the standard by which all gangster portrayals are judged with Edgar G. Robinson’s Rico. If I Die Before I Wake (1938) by Sherwood King is up with an estimate of $2,500. It serves as the source for Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai (1947).
Woolrich’s Writings Represented Sept. 14
Few writers’ bodies of work provided as many beloved films as Cornell Woolrich’s. His cycle of “Black” novels were adapted by the likes of Jacques Tourneur and François Truffaut; among the available Woolrich titles is a copy of The Black Curtain (1941, adapted as Street of Chance the next year), inscribed by the notorious recluse (estimate $3,000).
Other top lots from this collection include
• Tales (1845) by Edgar Allan Poe; which contains “Murder in the Rue Morgue,” recognized as thefirst modern detective story (estimate $10,000).
• The Sign of Four (1890) by Arthur Conan Doyle; the second Sherlock Holmes novel (estimate $6,000).
• An inscribed copy of The Conjure-Man Dies (1932) by Randolph Fisher; considered the first published mystery novel by an African-American (estimate $4,000).
• Fer-De-Lance (1934) by Rex Stout; Nero Wolfe’s debut (estimate $8,000).
• The Dark Tunnel (1944) by Kenneth Millar; Millar, who later wrote under the name Ross Macdonald, is considered the third member of the Holy Trinity of Detective Literature with Hammett and Chandler (estimate $3,000).
For more details on the Sept. 14 Rare Books Auction, visit www.ha.com.