Just like everything else connected with William Hope Hodgson, “collecting Hodgson” is not a particularly easy task. Even the books that have been released since the 1970s can be hard to track down particularly as many were published by small presses in limited editions.
The Arkham House editions of HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND, DEEP WATERS and even CARNACKI are fairly easy to find. However, they’re not particularly cheap when you find them. It gets even more difficult the further back you go.
In 1921, Holden & Hardingham republished all of WHH’s works in what were then called “cheap editions”. These books were not meant to last particularly long and used cheaper paper and covers. It is these books that turn up the most often on eBay and ABE but the prices can waver wildly. Of instance, recent auctions of these on eBay that include dustjackets have been listed for between $1,500-$2,000! (At the moment, I do not believe any of these have sold at those prices.)
It is when you look for the first editions that you start seeing serious prices! I have seen rare book dealers list some of these for low 5 figures. Although not as plentiful as the ‘cheap’ editions, these do occasionally surface. What one doesn’t see often are first editions SIGNED by Hodgson! These are probably the rarest Hodgson editions today.
Recently, a “collector” shared with me photographs of his prized edition of a signed first edition of The House on the Borderland. This particular copy was actually signed by Hodgson to someone and includes a little note as well. This is one of the rarest Hodgson first editions I have ever seen. I am not sure who the person was that Hodgson presented this copy to but I assume it was someone that WHH knew and was on friendly terms with given the lighthearted tone of the inscription.
The “collector” was kind enough to grant me permission to post these on the blog. I thought that many would like seeing this rare (and very envious) piece of Hodgsonian. It also strikes me that many readers of this blog may never have seen an example of Hodgson’s handwriting or signature before! This shows that there are such excellent items out there but I fear that they are few in number. Plus, of course, extremely costly!