Pulps Pricings Sales Census

Hello all Pulp Magazine Collectors, Readers, Buyers, etc… you know who you are.

My introduction to Pulp Magazines:
When comics priced me out of their range the value/fun just wasn’t there for continuing collecting new issues. I quit at $1.50 or so (1988 and 10,000 plus issues). New issues today go for around $2.00 – $3.00 plus for 16-24 pages, so JUST 4 issues would cost about $8.00 – $12.00 and up. When I started in 1976 they were 30 cents. Golden Age comics are out of most collectors reach now.

During that 1976-’77 period I’d heard about these things called old “Pulp” magazines that “disintegrated in your hands as you read them” from Conan the Barbarian/Savage Sword of Conan, Kull, and their paperbacks (R.E.H. horror series like “Black Canaan” (love “The House in the Oaks” and “People of the Black Coast”), and the Doc Savage B&W Marvel comic magazine (last 2) .

Black Canaan 1978Black Canaan 1978 frontpiece bDOC SAVAGE #7DOC SAVAGE #8

I decided that some day when I had the money that I’d actually own some these ‘things’.

In upstate New York one sees nothing of that type around and I never had a chance to get any Pulps until 2008 when we got our first computer. From there I FOUND eBAY.

My first Pulps were JUNGLE STORIES – April 1943 (Ki-Gor), PHANTOM DETECTIVE, BLACK BOOK DETECTIVE (Black Bat) – Sept. – 1941, then many more after that. For the ‘Black Bat’ I had seen an article in some comics fan magazine (Comics Scene/Comics Preview ???) with the title “The Other Batman,” which made me want to look into this character. I’m not sure if Will Murray wrote it or not as I can’t find the magazine and I’d really like to re-read the article.
In just 8 years my Pulp collection is at around 2,250 – 2,500 issues. From collectors that have been at it since the 1950’s and ’60’s (even the 1970’s) I’m barely a new-born stumbling out of the crib. I won’t even mention collectors like Walker Martin, Nick “Wooda” Carr or Al Tonik.

I’m always fascinated when prices seem to be on the ‘extreme’ side, either high or low (mostly high). Especially for Scarce to Very Rare titles that most collectors probably never see. It’s probably from my comic buying days and Overstreet’s listings of Scarce to Rare items. I’m hoping others will be interested in what certain issues go for also…High grade issues going for low money, beat (Fair) issues going for extremely high (relative) prices, and those in-between.

For terms of “Scarcity” and values I use “Bookery’s Guide to Pulps and Related Magazines“.
Also, for “Pulps” I’ll use the regular Pulp-size issues, Bed-sheets (‘slicks’), and digest. Examples: SCARLET ADVENTURESS, AMAZING DETECTIVE STORIES, FLYING STORIES (the first 14 Macfadden Publications issues were not Pulp-sized but bedsheets like the later FLYING ACES), The POCKET MAGAZINE, SWIFT STORY MAGAZINE will all be treated the same. If it’s in ADVENTURE HOUSE GUIDE To The PULPS or BOOKERY then it’s good for listing.

Adventure House Guide to the Pulps 1Bookery's Guide to Pulps and Related Magazines 463

At times a few extras will be thrown in, like Pulp Premiums (“The Shadow Ring”, “Friends of the Phantom” (Detective) Badge/Pin, Doc Savage Pin), Pulp author autographs, manuscripts, photographs, Original Pulp Paintings. Maybe even a PEP, SILK STOCKINGS, SPICY, but they’d have to be extra special.

If it wasn’t stated, these statics would be for actual sales items, not issues that have been sitting in some dealers inventory for years with high prices. Also I’ll list off only the prolific authors in an issue, and the story title if it’s interesting. I could just copy off the whole The FictionMags Index  contents for an issue but that’s what that site is for and I don’t want to take away from all of Phil Stephensen-Payne’s hard work there. By “prolific authors” I mean if the author’s output takes up 3/4 or more of a FictionMags page then they are prolific. This may include their real name and any number of pseudonyms to reach that amount. An example from a sample BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE issue: Clarence Herbert New (never heard of) has 2 pages worth of stories (his “Free Lances in Diplomacy” series).

Some of the photographs originally may have been too dark, light, uncropped, etc. so I had to ‘tweak’ them as best as I could. I’m not a professional, or anywhere near so with computers, and resort to using “Windows Live Photo Gallery” editing/cropping and “Paint” for re-sizing. If an image is just too blurry or small I’ll have to use the image at Galactic Central, and state that’s where it came from.

In much the same way as I enjoy reading Walker Martin’s postings, because, even at his ‘young’ age, his notes have that “Gosh – wow !” quality about them. At my own age I also have that “By golly, gee-whiz” fanboy feeling when I talk about, write,or receive a new Pulp package in the mail.

So to try out my first Posting, or is it Blog:

PHANTOM DETECTIVE - July 1942

The Phantom Detective (July 1942)

Here’s one I hope someone can explain to me.

PHANTOM  DETECTIVE – July 1942 recently sold on eBay for $182.50 !!!

It’s not even an early 1930’s issue and there’s nothing special author-wise from the FictionMags index.

“Condition: Very Good”; that’s all there is for the condition.

Not even High Grade.

Authors: “The Medieval Murders” by Robert Wallace (this time really by Henry Kuttner).

It’s not the first Kuttner has done a Phantom story: “The Sabotage Murders” in PHANTOM DETECTIVE – July 1941. It also contains a short story by J. Lane Linklater (pseudonym of Alexander William Watkins).

Bookery says the Sept. 1940 is Scarce, April and Dec. 1942 as Scarcer, and April 1941 as the Scarcest 1940’s issue.

Bookery has $12.00 – $30.00 – $60.00 for this July 1942 issue.

My copy only set me back $5.00 and 29 cents which is why I didn’t understand the $182.50 !!!

ENJOY PULPS – David Lee Smith

2 Comments

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  1. I’d simply put it down to eBay auction craziness. Not a pulp, but a few years back I had occasion to sell off a few 90s small press chapbooks. I had two spare copies of one mag, published by the folks who put out Ghosts & Scholars. Back then it sold for a measly £1.35.It’s not easy to find these days, so I wasn’t surprised to have the first copy sell for around £5.00. That seemed about right to me. The second copy, however, was fought for by two bidders & ended up selling to a guy in Germany for £180! An insane price.
    The chapbook was a selection of ghost stories by “B”. It was thought, by editor Rosemary Pardue, possibly to be A.C. Benson, brother of the better known E.F. Benson. I have no idea if this was ever confirmed.
    I’m pretty sure that, if I were to put my personal copy on eBay, it would far more likely go for around £5, like the first one I sold.

  2. I’d be cautious of relying strictly on eBay prices, as that site is rife with shenanigans (which is why many top dealers have left it). I’d also look at sales from Rich Halegua’s MPB.com and the Heritage Galleries Past Auction Archives (www.ha.com) for more realistic prices realized. It’s a tough market for pulps these days, as few are bringing the kind of money they did even ten years ago. Part of this is, I think, the much greater availability of reprints (which is a very, very good thing, as it lets us read material we’d never be able to find/afford), another part the greying of those of us interested in the material. Thank god for publishers like Altus Press who have worked so hard to bring so many of these classics back to print, so that, perhaps, a whole new generation can catch pulp fever!

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