Dennis Wheatley's Library - modern first editions
D H Lawrence
A first edition of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ (1928)
Click on the image to enlarge
DW had four D.H. Lawrence first editions in his Library; No.623 of the first edition of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ printed in Florence and signed by Lawrence; No. 317 of 810 numbered copies of ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’, again printed in Florence; a first edition of ‘Pansies’, and a first edition, first issue copy of ‘Sons and Lovers’, with dustjacket.
While he bought them, DW was not over-impressed. In his memoirs, he wrote :
‘D.H.Lawrences’s Sons and Lovers, Duckworth 1913. No doubt a very good book in its way.
It describes life in a Midland coal-miner’s village, but none of the characters, with the exception of the mother, have any guts. As for Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I thought it a very poor performance. And the author has not a laugh in him.’
The prices of the first three in the Blackwell’s catalogue were £300, £80 and £15 respectively. For some reason, although it was in their sale, DW’s copy of ‘Sons and Lovers’ was not in the catalogue. We know he had it though, because Guardian journalist Rick Gekoski later wrote about how he snapped it up at the time for £350, being aware that it was one of the few known jacketed copies in existence.
Today (February 2017), Nigel Burwood of Any Amount of Books estimates that DW’s copy of ‘Sons and Lovers’ would be worth at least £4,000 while the internet suggests the ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ would be worth around £ 15,000, ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’ about £400 and ‘Pansies’ only around £100, unless boosted by the DW connection.
Once again, those who knew what they were looking for (in this case Rick Gekoski) could get a bargain – adjusted for inflation, £350 in 1979 would be worth £1,250 today.
References : Officer and Temporary Gentleman, page 147
Phil Baker page 490