Wanted by world’s biggest collector, buyer, exchanger
of old boys’ books. Vol. 1 Tyburn Dick,
first 19 nos. Spring Heeled Jack,
Wanted Brett, Fox, Hogarth House publications,
Hogarth House Volumes, Young Men of
Boys Friends, Realms, also Aldine Libraries
wanted. Prompt cash. Similar for sale.
PLAYS IN PACKETS.
A CORRESPONDENT in your last issue enquired about the plays
that were produced and sold in ½d. and 1d. packets some thirty years ago. Well I have many of them in my own
collection. They were published by a
firm called Andrews and Co., of
For instance the “Miller & His Men” consisted of three sheets at 1½d. of Parks’ 1d. “Miller,” with a few odd scenes, but the characters were well drawn, because Parks 1d. “Miller” (8 sheets of characters) was about the best set of this popular play ever produced. I think I have either 15 or 16 sets of this play and Parks’ characters were as large and well produced as any, being engraved on copper. Andrews’ were of course stereotyped.
Other plays in the “Champion Series” were:—
“Captain Ross and his Search for the North Pole” (two packets); taken from Skelt’s “Captain Ross,” “George Barnwell,” also taken from Skelt, “On the Stroke of One,” “Boys in Blue,” “The Pantomime Packet” taken from Skelt’s “Tom Tucker,” “The Dumb Boy and His Monkey,” and “Walter Brand and The Outlaw’s Revenge,” two packets from Skelt’s. There were others of course.
The ½d. packets were lithographic reproductions of various
publishers issued by
THOSE “Old Boys” who chanced to notice, some two years ago, the small paragraph tucked away in an odd corner of their daily newspaper, announcing that “Deadwood Dick” had just died in America, must have read it with some rather curious stirring of memories and recollections of bygone days.
“Deadwood Dick!” The hero of countless penny dreadful yarns; that commanding and outstanding figure that first dawned on our youthful vision over forty years ago through the medium of the “Aldine First Rate Library,” and which we read with all our youthful vim and interest as they were issued at the rate of four per month: that hero with his heroine, Calamity Jane, passing through countless adventures in gold-mining camps; in canon and rocky steep, to be followed in later numbers by Deadwood Dick, junior, who, true son of his father, followed faithfully in his sire’s footsteps; that wonderful personage was “now dead.”
Deadwood Dick’s real name was Richard Clarke, and he died in
the city which had given him his nickname, and which lies in a narrow canon,
4,500 feet above sea level, in
Clarke, as a youth, was one of the first drivers of the Pony Express which defied the Sioux in its death risking dashes across the continent. Protected only by the “Shotgun Guard,” the Pony Express figured in countless fights—and flights—to the death with the Red Indians, which have been made immortal by the writers of stories for boys. Yet Clarke lived to receive in his old age, full homage from the descendants of the Sioux Indians, against whom he had waged fierce warfare in his youth, for he rode in the pageant held at Deadwood in 1927 when President Coolidge was inducted into full membership by a Sioux tribe.
Clarke had reached the good old age of 83 when he died. But the Wild West which he had at one time known, had died years before him. Where the Pony Express fought its way, endless streams of motorcars
now flash past, and “inter-urban trolley cars” now run. Great sky-scraping buildings now rise where, in Dick’s day, was the open prairie, and the Indian and the buffalo are now found only in reservations.
Deadwood Dick and his comrades cleared the way and blazed the trail for Babbitt and his friends. What, one wonders, did he think of it all before he died?
Such was the real Deadwood Dick; but to the “Old Boys” in this country and in America, he will always remain the tall fine looking handsome outlaw; he with the “steady gaze and eagle eyes” who was “lightning on the shoot;” who thrashed the camp bully; who held up the stage coach, and who sat in his saddle as if he and his steed were one living thing instead of being man and beast.
Deadwood Dick is not the first real man to die, but whose memory is destined to live in the fictitious creation of an author’s imagination. There is our own Richard I, and Robin Hood; Claude Duval and Dick Turpin; and of our own day Buffalo Bill.
Perhaps the most interesting feature about Deadwood Dick
lies in the place of his birth. He was
not an American. It does seem curious to
think that the man whose name was to represent, in the romantic daring Wild
West hero, a type of character peculiarly American should not be able to lay
It would appear that Yorkshire comes out well on top in supplying us with noted fictitious characters; at any rate so far as the Penny Dreadful goes, for in the 18th century it gave us Dick Turpin, and in the 19th century, it crosses the Atlantic to give us from out of the Wild West of America, a Deadwood Dick.
MATTHEW M. HUNTER
THE OLD BOYS BOOKS IN 1932.
OUR cheery and most enterprising Editor, Mr. Parks, has made the kindly suggestion, that to signalise my re-entry into the arena, after some three or more years silence, I should endeavour to send a few cheery words to The Collector’s Miscellany, and appreciating the implied compliment, the troglodyte picks up his rusty pen.
My Rip Van Winkle sleep, caused by bereavement and other complications, having run its course, I yawned, and in the first effort to get into normal stride, timidly ventured a modest 2/- advert in a well known trade organ. My name and my collection were evidently remembered, as old and new chums promptly inundated me with replies, and I have never left my typewriter since. The first result was, I bought a choice and well known old collection. Keeping those I lacked (very few) the rest almost en bloc went to America, for I find the Collector’s Miscellany has established a wonderful entente with our trans-Atlantic comrades and the only danger is, that the old country may become denuded of all its choicest specimen, for the Americans are keen bidders, and given a square deal, not too disposed to haggle.
Well since my retirement, much of course has altered, and some few of the dear old names are with us no longer. I find the casual, all round collector of most anything that appeared in penny numbers, has given place to the sub specialist and the epicure, who only wants his special requirements catered for. The E. H. Burrage enthusiast, who swears by Ching-Ching, and begs that I will find him a copy of “School by the Sea” or something else equally as unprocurable. The next one required vols. of Young Folks or Henderson publications only, while the Fox fanatic moans for Boys’ Standard and “Cartouche the French Jack Sheppard” etc. etc. and so on and so on.
Now while this certainly boosts the value of such star items, it will ultimately kill the hobby, if these rather selfish exclusives are not careful. The ordinary bookseller is not going to worry about a type of collector who only wants a thousand to one chance. To him a “blood” is a “blood,” and if after submitting some half a dozen items that he has chanced his money to buy, on the off chance that it might suit Mr. Jones, he is told they are not wanted, but, “If you can find me the ‘Wild Boys of London,’ or ‘Black Wolf the Highwayman,’ I will pay a big price of them,” he is prone to think the game not worth the candle. If on the other hand, Mr. Jones will buy a few of Pierce Egan’s and G. W. M. Reynolds, and a run of the London Journal, then Mr. Bookseller goes on trying, till he lands a copy of “May Turpin” or the first 6 vols. of the Sons of Britannia or something else equally as choice. It is most disheartening to send out a list of maybe 150 items, to be told that “nothing appeals” but if you can find vols. 3-5 and 8 of Boys World the collector in question is prepared to deal with you. It is getting increasingly difficult to find anything as
most of the old ‘uns have gravitated to collectors’ shelves, and when ultimately dispersed, most probably go to specialists like myself, who in turn distribute them to well known collectors. The casual bargain on a stall is almost a thing of the past, and if Mr. Epicure demands the only copy known to exist of “The Dashing Beauties of London” then he must be prepared to pay a staggering price, but almost invariably he is not.
This state of affairs I find has produced an apathy among ordinary booksellers, whom after all we have to look to for anything fresh in the way of big finds, so I would advise collectors not to be so selfishly narrow. Let the “journal” man buy a few “bloods,” and the “blood” specialist buy a few journals. They will be astonished at the added joy they will find on investigation of what they have hitherto tabooed.
Also as I have always advocated, a little less exclusiveness would be all to the good. The collections should be known. My door is always open to all, on receipt of adequate notice, as nothing gives me more joy than to show my treasures to the “Boys of the old Brigade.” My collection has been inspected by so many, that it is known and quoted all over the English speaking world, but I rarely get an invitation to inspect others.
This publicity has done me good, and if as alleged by so
many, though I do not claim it, that I have “The World’s Largest Collection,”
then it is because of the camaraderie I have established as far as
Well boys, let’s get to it, and keep the game alive. Can I help you to complete that old treasure? Can you help me? I want the first 19 nos. of “Spring Heeled Jack,” I want vol. 1 “Tyburn Dick,” I want Vols. 38-40-42, Reynolds’s Miscellany, but there Mr. Parks will be telling me he has an advert. column. Still that is the spirit, get to know each other, write about it in the Collector’s Miscellany, and before we know where we are, we shall have fanned the ember into a blaze, and “Three Fingered Jack” will crawl out of the cupboard and commence his rounds again.
I again suggest, as I did years ago in this organ, that the “Special Items of well-known collectors” be issued in the C.M. and I will cheerfully lead the way. What a cure for a swollen head it would be to find that “The only copy known to exist” of which we bragged, also existed on at least three more shelves. So Walk up! Walk up! the old boys books! Who has them? What about them? Where are they? I am sure the columns of the C.M. are always open to all who can write a readable article. Via Mr. Parks, I will answer any questions as to the old “bloods” though I do not claim infallibility, and it is only a few weeks ago, that I first heard of “Varney the Vulture, or the Track of the Doomed.”
Wanted “Penny Dreadfuls” in volumes or sets. Cash prompt, pleasant dealings. James Madison, 465,
Wanted: Fox’s Boys Standard, Boys Leisure Hour, Boys Champion Journal, Halfpenny Standard, Vol. 7 and 8 Boys Comic Journal, Vol. 37 Boys of England. Also Young Ching-Ching, Green as Grass, That Rascal Jack, The School on the Sea, Cheeky Charlie. Robert Dodds, 3 Garngad Hill, Glasgow.
Wanted plays published by Brett, and other publishers. Also plays in packets, loose sheets, books of
words, etc. Parks, Printer, Saltburn-by-Sea,