Saturday, September 6, 2008

Book Sale: Donald A. Wollheim’s Copy of Mars Mountain, the First SF Specialty Press Book

A book dealer at is selling a rare copy of Eugene George Key’s Mars Mountain (1935), a collection of three science fiction short stories. Apparently, the book was once owned by writer, publisher, and editor Donald A. Wollheim.

As the description below indicates and author, editor, and book collector Robert Weinberg has stated, Key’s collection has significance as “the first science fiction specialty press book” and “the first small press science fiction hardcover.”
Mars Mountain, by Eugene George Key (1935)

Publisher: Everett, Penna.: Fantasy Pubs.
Publication Date: 1935
Binding: Hardcover
Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included
Edition: 1st Edition

Description: Small octavo. ... two inserted plates with illustrations by Irving E. G. Bjorkman ... dust jacket which reproduces one of the Bjorkman illustration on the front panel. First edition. The first SF specialty press book ... [William L.] Crawford printed 400 copies of Mars Mountain, but no more than 150 were bound; 100 hardbound in white boards and 50 paperbound ... This pioneer 152-page book collects three short stories Key was unable to place in the pulp market and is now notorious for being unreadable. ... Overall, a nice copy of this fragile little book. Formerly Donald A. Wollheim's copy with his name stamped in ink on the rear panel of the jacket.

Price: $500
Equally interesting is Bjorkman's “Original pen and ink drawing on paper for the cover art (and frontispiece) for the first edition of Mars Mountain by Eugene George Key,” which is listed on for $20,000.

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