Important disposals of Dennis Wheatley material
   back to Contents 

A. Important disposals during Dennis Wheatley’s lifetime

  Date Location Price Buyer known or unknown Description and commentary
1 10-3 Oct 1968 Grove Place various A handful known The sale of 982 lots of DW’s surplus possessions ranging from antiques to curios and from his own signed books and books from his library to walking sticks and soap powder; all sold off amidst considerable publicity – and to his large profit - when DW moved to live permanently at 60 Cadogan Square in London

For further details, click here and here
2 7 July 1969 Sotheby’s
New Bond Street
Lot 621.
Trade buyer stipulated as F. Edwards is the auction results sheet An almost complete signed set of DW’s works. 34 volumes in all, all signed by the author, the first two with long bibliographical notes, and all with dust jackets.

Possibly put up for auction by DW himself.
3 4 Dec 1975 Sotheby’s Chancery Lane Lot 353.
Estimate £20-30
Lot 517.
Estimate £500-1,000
Buyer known; all material apparently ‘re-cycled’ since Lot 353: An extensive collection of (DW’s) works, including a number of first editions and presentation copies, some with long inscriptions by the author concerning editions and dates of publication, and 2 annotated proof copies of Dangerous Inheritance, 1965, 66 vol. in all, including some duplicates and triplicates, the majority in original cloth and dust-jackets, together with a collection of foreign translations, 105 vol., (171).

Lot 517: The property of a gentleman. Wheatley (Dennis). Vast collection of typescripts, galleys and page proofs, many of them extensively corrected by the author ...offprints, articles, some photographs, wartime p, for numerous of his novels including The Satanist, The Rape of Venice, Mayhem in Greece, The Ka of Gifford Hillary, Traitors’ Gate, V for Vengeance, The Sultan’s Daughter, Unholy Crusade, The White Witch of the South Seas, The Wanton Princess, The Quest of Julian Day and Vendetta in Spain , together with Dennis Wheatley’s correspondence files containing letters from various correspondents (some long series, often with carbons of Wheatley’s replies) including Evelyn Waugh, Louis Golding, Thomas Burke, Nicols Bentley, Noel Coward, Baroness Orczy, A.J.Cronin, Leslie Charteris, Alfred Hitchock, Gilbert Frankau, R.H. Mottram, John Creasey, Malcolm Campbell et al. Also in the Lot are numerous copies of pamphlets and articles by Wheatley (many inscribed by him), offprints, newspapers, cuttings and magazines collected by him, some photographs, wartime papers and instructions etc ., several thousands of pages, various sizes, bound, unbound and in boxes.

Again, almost certainly put up for auction by DW himself. It is hard to imagine anyone else having either the ability or the nerve to do so.
4 Various London Bookseller Harold Mortlake various Unknown Correspondence reveals that in his time at Lymington, DW disposed of a large number of his surplus copies of his books, and particularly his early works, to Mortlake for on-sale, autographing many of them either simply, or sometimes to fictitious recipients, in order that they would command higher prices.

B. Important disposals taking place after Dennis Wheatley’s death on 10th Nov 1977

  Date Location Price Buyer known or unknown Description and commentary
5 9th June 1978 Sotheby’s Chancery Lane Unknown Unknown The sale of various large items of furniture stated formerly to have belonged to DW.
6 1979 Blackwell’s sale of the contents of DW’s library Aggregate list price circa £59,000 A few known; sadly not more The catalogue was almost 200 pages long, and listed some 2,274 items, many of these multi-volume. Many were severely under-priced and almost all bear DW’s distinctive bookplate.

For further details, click here

C. Important disposals taking place after Joan Wheatley’s death on 17th July 1982

  Date Location Price Buyer known or unknown Description and commentary
7 8th Dec 1983 Sotheby’s Lot 272.
Estimate £250-300
Hammer price
Buyer known Dennis Wheatley. The personal papers of Dennis Wheatley comprising a huge archive of letters addressed to him by his family, friends, associates, readers, large quantities of press cuttings & publicity material relating to his various books, his First World War relics, his commission as Second Lieutenant, some draft and typescript articles, accounts and business papers mostly concerning the wine trade, numerous photographs, diaries, notebooks, address books, party lists, firm catalogues and Christmas cards, his collection of brochures and other souvenirs from all over the world relating to the innumerable travels from which he derived a great deal of background information which he was able to use in his books and many other miscellaneous papers and mementos. Many thousands of items largely bundled up by Wheatley himself according to year in a number of boxes and sacks.

Sold not subject to return.

This hugely important hoard contained much of the unpublished material used in Phil Baker’s biography of DW, such as the D:EGT Manuscript, and it currently remains largely intact in major private archives.
8 4th Aug 1984 Garnet Langton, Bournemouth Lot 464.
Estimate £800-1,000
Hammer price £1,100
Buyer known; all material understood to have been subsequently re-offered for sale over time at various different auction rooms Dennis Yates Wheatley – a large portion of his estate contained in fifteen medium to large size boxes. Many thousands of items including manuscripts and part manuscripts in his hand, letters to Wheatley from family and friends, his Will and his obsolete Wills, hand written notes on cheirognomy, maps and travelling files which he used in his stories, numerous items appertaining to the Wheatley Wine Business in Mayfair in the 1920s, with signed agreements, letters, lists, receipts, hand written and typed cellar lists, some of his father’s diaries 1914-20s relating to the business , and later letters concerning Dennis Wheatley’s interest in the wine firm of Justerini & Brooks. Also many love letters written to him, two oil paintings of his parents, 28” x 35” in size, his 1914 commission document and 1918 invalid certificate, Solicitors correspondence concerning his books, the 1967 fil “Living Portrait of Dennis Wheatley”, a box of Christmas Cards and a box of Picture Postcards sent to, or collected by him, various holiday photograph albums, and many personal photographs of him with his two wives; Insurance policies, items from the New Forest Show in which he played a part in organizing, Travel Brochures, and several boxes of newspaper cuttings concerning his books, collected over many years. Also included are a few of his personal possessions, including a novelty screwdriver, a pair of glasses, Forresters items (?), and a Netsuke bought while on holiday in Japan. We are proud to be able to offer this truly remarkable Lot in its entirety, a Lot of great local interest since many items originate from his house at Lymington, Hampshire. The buyer will be able to enjoy not only the close study of a brilliant author, but also a collection of unique items.

(many 1000s) £800/£1000

This curious sale intrigued the media, with Quentin Cowdry of The Sunday Telegraph reporting ‘The collection was offered to Garnet Langton Auctions, of Bournemouth, whose lots never normally reach more than £1,000, by a local man who has refused to disclose his identity. It is understood, however, that he is not a member of the Wheatley family.’

The media also (rightly) considered the price very low. Perhaps it had something to do with concerns over the legitimacy of the provenance.

This collection was sadly dispersed by being split up and re-cycled through various auction room, and remnants of it still come up for auction.; several likely survivals from it being noted below.
9 ? 1980s Not known – possibly an auctioneer in Chichester Lots 158-165.
Estimates and hammer prices unknown
Buyer of some known The following was provided to the webmaster in the form of copies of two pages cut out of old auction catalogue by the late, great, George Locke, who had bought some of the material on offer:

Lot 158: The Forbidden Territory. 4 copies. 3 complete with pencils on red cord of Wheatley’s ingenious method of advertising his first published book in 1933, ‘Crossing The Forbidden Territory with Mr. and Mrs. Wheatley, consisting of a questionnaire with map and photograph, offered to guests at a party at 48, Queen’s Gate, 5 January 1933.

(Lot description followed by a quotation from ‘Drink and Ink’).

Lot 159: Menus, Invitations etc. A collection of 11 menus and programmes of functions attended by Wheatley, some with tableplans: Wine & Spirit Trades Benevolent Society Banquet (1914): Vinters Hall Livery Dinner, 1921: The Law Society Council Dinner (1962); The Pilgrims’ Dinner (1962); The Eleven Club (1964); Party to Celebrate the Publication of Dennis Wheatley’s 50th Book (1964); etc.: (with a membership certificate of The International Doghouse Club issued to Wheatley, and 9 other miscellaneous items.

Lot 160: Posters. A Collection of 9, advertising Wheatley’s newspaper activities, public lectures and books, including 2 Sunday Graphic (‘Dennis Wheatley’s Personality Page’ and ‘New Gossip Page’); a National Service poster ‘What are You prepared to do for Your Country. Public Meeting – Speaker Dennis Wheatley; Daily Mail:’The Devild Rides Out. Great New Thriller’; a particularly graphic German poster advertising ‘Death off Miami’; Harrods News: ‘Talks by Famous Authors; Dennis Wheatley; a fine black and white Borough of Swindon & Pendlebury Publick (sic) Libraries poster announcing Wheatley lecturing on ‘Black Magic through the Ages’; and two ingenious Christmas Greetings from Joan and Dennis Wheatley in the form of black and red posters, 1952.

Lot 161: Press Pass (Lancashire Constabulary) Royal Ordnance Factory, Chorley, made out to Mr. Dennis Wheatley (Reporter) Sunday Graphic ‘to R.O.F (sic) Halt Platform omly, 31st March, 1939. (2) Wheatley’s Clothing Book 1947-8 (with a number of unused coupons0 and Ration Book, 1953-1954 (partly unused). (4) H.M.S. ‘Worcester’ pay book marker ‘Wheatley’ No. 56, listing payments of pocket money, January-March 1913; with an entry of 12s. received by the Captain from Wheatley’s father.

(Final item description followed by a quotation from ‘The Young Man Said’).

Lot 162: 290th Brigade ((2/1st City of London Brigade, R.F.A.). Menu of luncheon at King Edward Room, Pagani’s Restaurant, 6th June, 1919. Signed on reverse (pencil) by 19 of the guests, including Dennis Wheatley.

(A note follows on DW’s WWI Military Service).

Lot 163: ‘They Found Atlantis’ (Hutchinosn, 1936). Original ink and typescript plan of the Azores and ‘Atlantis’ drawn and initialed by Wheatley, marked by publisher ‘To follow Contents page’, etc.; with two original proofs of endpapers, designed by Wheatley and his wife Joan (who was responsible for some of his other art work), and a copy of the pictorial dust jacket for this book.

Lot 164: Towle, Sir Francis (1876-1951). Christmas Greeting in the form of a gramophone recording, 1929-30, in his capacity of Managing Director of the May Fair (sic) Hotel, Hotel Metropole, Victoria and Grosvenor. (@A personal message from Sir Francis Towle, OBE’ …’Try this on your Gramaphone.’ With view of pall Mall on reverse.

Lot 165: Wheatley, Dennis: Autograph draft messages to his wife, beginning ‘Joan My dear One’ and ‘Happy darling?’ (totaling 60 lines foolscap) prepared for recording: ‘I am making this little record for you because you wanted me to go on talking over the telephone – I thought perhaps some other time too, you might want to hear my voice.’

‘Last night, I had to go to a party and all the time I talked with only one half of my mind on the job. The other half was engaged in preparing a lyric for you. I kept on muttering to my host…’ etc. With the lyric, and with the subsequent recording (Recordavox, Standard 6-inch disc, talking approx. 1 ¼ minutes to play). (With 5 other Recordavox discs).

One might speculate that this was a classic example of ‘recycling’ of material bought at the 4th August 1984 Auction, although there is a very small possibility some came from the 1983 Auction.
10 9th Feb 1994 T. Vennett-Smith Lot 920.
Estimate £30-40.
Lot 1531
Estimate £30-40.
Hammer price £60.
Lot 1745
Hammer price £95.
Buyers unknown Lot 920 WHEATLEY DENNIS, signed 8 X 10, to image, h/s, signed in darker portion, small pinholes to corners of photographers mount, not affecting image or signature, G 30/40

Lot 1531 WHEATLEY DENNIS, an interesting collection of ephemera, previously belonging to Wheatley, inc. his ration book 1953-54, clothing book 1947-48, Press Pass issued to him by the Lancashire Constabulary whilst reporting for the Sunday Graphic, 31st March 1939, menu for a party to celebrate the publication of his 50th book, 1964, Christmas cards, invitations, a few photos etc., G to VG, 25 30/40

Lot 1745 WHEATLEY DENNIS, an interesting collection of letters and Christmas cards, inc. two letters from Wheatley, one to the Duke of York sending a copy of his first book; various letters and cards to Wheatley from personalities inc. Ursula Bloom, John Creasy, Kingsley Amis, Christina Foyle etc., G to VG, 35 40/60
11 11th May 1994 T. Vennett-Smith Lot 1372.
Estimate £60-80
Hammer price not recorded
Buyer unknown WHEATLEY DENNIS, interesting A.L.S., one and a half pages, n.d., to Lord Blandford, stating that it has been sometime [sic] since he has seen him though thanking him for his share of wine business and continuing “I am enclosing a leaflet concerning a book of mine which has just been published – it does not pretend to (be) [sic] any great literary merit but the press people who have read it are kind enough to say that it is a good story”, EX (See Illustration page 36) 60/80
12 10th Nov 2005       A significant private sale of a DW collection.
13 26th June 2007 Bonhams Lot 86.
Estimate £400-800
Hammer price £360 (plus premium £432)
Buyer known The bound typescript of ‘The Lusty Youth of Roger Brook’

Typescript of (DW’s) unexpurgated novel The Lusty Youth of Roger Brook, prefaced by an Author’s Note, stating that “This book consists of my unabridged novel ‘The Launching of Roger Brook’ and a few chapters of a sequel ‘The Man who Killed the King’. But to the original text of the above have been added, at suitable intervals, some dozen scenes of erotic encounters, covering all the usual types of intercourse, most of which are experienced by all normal young men and women” (noting that as “sex plays such an important part in the lives of the majority of people” no portrayal of character is complete “without an account of that character’s reaction to the sexual urge in a variety of situations”); with tipped-in a photocopy of a letter from Hutchinson’s stating that should they decline his executors’ invitation to publish the posthumous script they will not regard its publication by any other imprint as infringing their rights in the published versions (18 December 1972), some 740 numbered leaves, plus preliminary matter, the title, Author’s Note and Contents typed top copies, the text of the novel carbon under-copies, blue buckram, morocco label on spine, 4to, [c.1972] £400-800

The Launching of Roger Brook (1947) was the first of the Roger Brook novels, of which The Man who Killed the King was the forth (sic); the last in the series, Desperate Measures (1974), ending his career as a writer of fiction. During the Second World War, Wheatley had been a member of the London Controlling Section at the offices of the War cabinet, responsible for devising and co-ordinating strategic deception activities. “for four years his fertile imagination was given free rein. He also became privy to a great deal of secret information of which he could make no direct use when he returned to writing. He therefore began, with The Launching of Roger Brooke [sic] (1947), a series of twelve novels set in the period 1785-1815 and so free from any restraints (J.G.Links, ODNB).

A curiously low price for a singularly unusual volume.
14 21st Nov 2012 Christies Lot 163.
Estimate £7,000-10,000
Hammer price £16,000 (plus premium £20,000)
Buyer known The author’s uniformly bound collection of his own works. London: Hutchinson, 1933-1977. Consisting of the novels and short stories in 57 volumes numbered 0 to 54 on spines [vol. numbers 43-44 duplicated]; the 4 ‘Murder Dossiers’ written with J.G. Links (1936-1939); non-fiction works and an unpublished typescript in 8 volumes numbered I-VIII; and his memoirs (1977).

Together 69 volumes 8vo (ave. 182 x 113mm) and 4vo (ave. 275 x 197 mm). Uniform full blue morocco gilt by Sangorski and Sutcliffe,coat-of-arms of the author within gilt frame on upper covers, spines paneled in gilt with the author’s crest and monogram, gilt edges. Original dust-jackets preserved and also endpapers where appropriate. Provenance: Dennis Wheatley (binding and bookplate by Papé) – Blackwell’s 1979 Catalogue of books from the Library of Dennis Wheatley item 1. Fine set with most titles in first edition and dust-jackets bound in. Includes Wheatley’s first published novel, The Forbidden Territory (adverts dated Spring 1933), and first occult novel The Devil Rides Out (adverts dated Spring 1935). The crime dossier, Who killed Robert Prentice? contains ‘the only extant copy of the torn-up photograph’ (according to Wheatley’s pencil note dated February 1954). The finished typescript, with manuscript alterations, of Of Vice and Virtue: An Eastern Romance has calligraphic title, dated 1950, indicating that it was ‘privately commissioned’ [by the Foreign Office], and only appeared in ‘Arabic, Persian and other Eastern Languages’. Two tipped-in leaves [copy of memo from the F.O.?] state the required plot. Saturdays with Bricks (1961) is with one-page t.l.s from Winston Churchill, 28 Hyde Park Gate, 20 April 1961, expressing thanks for the ‘very agreeable dedication’. For more information, see the on-line catalogue. (69)

This set was originally sold as Item 1 in Blackwell’s catalogue for £4,500, and is believed to have been sold by Blackwell’s to John Paul Getty II, although this has never been officially confirmed.

Note: The buyer has since had the later volumes (two of fiction and three of non-fiction) that were missing from the set on account of their having not been bound (or in some cases not yet published) at the time of DW’s death, added, bound-in-keeping, so the ‘run’ of this set is henceforth complete.

For further details, click here
15 3rd March 2013       A significant private sale of a DW collection.
16 Circa 2014 Leeds University Library Special Collections N/A Acquirer known A 22 box archive of Dennis Wheatley’s personal papers, now held as MS 1942, and transferred to the University by a firm called Misland Capital.

The original provenance of this material is unknown, but it is in all probability a re-surfacing of material originally sold in the Garnet Langton Auction.
17 3rd November 2015       A significant private sale of a DW collection.
18 25th January 2017 Forum Auctions Lot 194.
Estimate £400-600
Hammer price £400
Acquirer not known Wheatley (Dennis) Military notebook compiled during World War II (actually WWI – CB), autograph manuscript, 89pp. excluding blanks, a few drawings, original cloth-backed boards, sm. 8vo, n.d. [1940s - actually WWI – CB].

Various headings, including Explosives, Propellants, Detonators, Disruptives, Nitrocellulose etc.

In all probability a re-surfacing of material originally sold in the Garnet Langton sale
19 20th June 2019 Forum Auctions Lot 161.
Estimate £120-180
Hammer price £85
Buyer known Wheatley (Dennis) An archive of letters, receipts, cheques, order forms etc. , relating to the author including his purchase of a Charron-Laycock car, food and wine, books, a wedding ring etc. folds, c.1910-30.

In all probability a re-surfacing of material originally sold in the Garnet Langton sale
20 22nd January 2020 Forum Auctions Lot 120.
Estimate £2,000-3,000
Hammer price £4,200 (plus premium £5,250)
Buyer known Wheatley (Dennis, writer, 1897-1977) An archive of manuscripts, typescripts and others including Wheatley's unpublished first novel "Julie's Lovers", 14 vol., comprising: Julie's Lovers, 2 vol., typescript, original rexine; Julie's Lovers, book I, chapters VII - XIII only in autograph manuscript, original boards; The Perfume Garden, translated by Dennis Wheatley, with notes, unpublished autograph manuscript, original cloth-backed boards; 3 autograph notebooks; 5 vol. relating to the inventory, insurance and sale of various houses owned by Wheatley; 3 vol. of press cuttings, photographs and bibliographical listings relating to Wheatley, v.s., v.d.

A fascinating archive, Wheatley wrote Julie's Lovers whilst serving in the 36th Ulster Division in the First World War. His father arranged for the novel (a romance with a military setting) to be typed up but did not succeed in finding a publisher. The rest of the archive exemplifies Wheatley's meticulous noting and cataloguing both of his own ideas as well as the voluminous contents of his houses.

In all probability a further re-surfacing of material originally sold in the Garnet Langton sale

This page last updated

Copyright © 2002-2006 Bob Rothwell. 2007-2021 Charles Beck.
Link to e-mail  back to Contents