The Holy Gent or the Holy Grail of Howard collecting. ‘A Gent from Bear Creek’ was first published by Herbert Jenkins in England, 1937 after Howards death. The title of both an original short story, as well as a novel created by combining several previous short stories with some new material; the previously published short stories were altered a little to create chapters with a continuous story line, and new material was added as additional chapters.

Chapters

  • Striped Shirts and Busted Hearts (new)
  • Mountain Man
  • Meet Cap’n Kidd (new)
  • Guns of the Mountains
  • A Gent from Bear Creek
  • The Feud Buster
  • The Road to Bear Creek
  • The Scalp Hunter
  • Cupid from Bear Creek
  • The Haunted Mountain
  • Educate or Bust (new)
  • War on Bear Creek
  • When Bear Creek Came to Chawed Ear (new).

More information

The true first edition from 1937 is very rare with only 18 copies known to exist, as per the 8th of April, 2021.

  1. The copy that went to I. M. Howard is now held in a Robert E. Howard collection by Ranger Junior College in Ranger, Texas. It lacks a dustjacket.
  2. Patrice Louinet – The finest known copy belonged to Glenn Lord – with dustjacket.
    Glenn Lord bought it some forty years ago from Arkham House publisher August Derleth for $4.00. Inside, written in holograph, is “August Derleth, his book.”
    It now belongs to Patrice Louinet who bought it for $18000 in June, 2017.
  3. One in fine condition was found by bookdealer Ian Snelling of Forest Town, South Africa, in 2002 and bought by California REHupan Leo Grin that year FOR $3700, discounted with the understanding that it be donated (at Grin’s suggestion) to the Robert E. Howard House and Museum, where it is displayed during the annual Robert E. Howard Days celebration.
  4. One copy of a Gent – good condition – with restored endpapers was sold on eBay in December 2002 for $2465 by a British bookseller to an unknown collector.
  5. Alistair Durie, author of the pictorial history Weird Tales (Jupiter, 1979), found another Gent, in about good condition, at a Charing Cross Road, London, bookshop in about 2004, for which he paid 2000 GBP (about $3500). Durie stated that Jenkins often put out cheaper editions of his earlier releases, with thinner paper, raising the possibility that such versions of Gent might have existed. However, Lord, some people who used to work for Jenkins, and others came to believe that the only difference between the Jenkins Gent’s first and second editions was probably the “reduced” price sticker put over the original lower dustjacket’s printed price. The first edition had been priced at 7 shillings, 6 pence, and the second edition at only 2 shillings, 6 pence.
  6. British Library, London – fine copy – no dust jacket
    Link to the item
  7. The National Library of Scotland (NLS), Edinburgh – fine copy – no dust jacket- pictures not allowed
    Link to the item
  8. The Bodleian Library, Oxford
    Link to the item
  9. The Trinity College Library, Dublin
    Link to the item
  10. Cambridge University Library (this is the only library copy with a dust jacket)
  11. The late collector Edward Gobbett of Lanham, Maryland – a good copy – no dust jacket
    This copy had a Boots Book Slip at the first page of text, as well as a Boots Lending slip on the verso of the rear cover. Boots would buy books at the time of issue and immediately discard the dustjacket and slap one of their stickers on the front board, they would then rent out the book with the intent of eventually selling the book to any interested buyer.
  12. The late collector Edward Gobbett of Lanham, Maryland – differs from other copies (font/lettering/word placement, etc.)
    This is planned to be auctioned at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention in September 2021 (rescheduled from April 2020). It is in good condition.
  13. A very good copy belonging to the late Memphis collector and FAX publisher Dr. Darrell C. Richardson was auctioned by Adventure House publisher John Gunnison in March 2010 for $11000 to an unknown collector.
  14. Illinois collector Bob Lumpkin bought Patrice Louinet’s second copy in June 2017 for $14500. Louinet bought this on ABEbooks.com for £20 in April 2010 from someone who didn’t realize the value.
  15. Brad and Jeff Howard (grandchildren of a cousin of REH) – poor condition
  16. Unknown collector – poor condition – sold on ABEbooks for $150 August 2015.
  17. Lee A. Breakiron – good – with library pocket. Bought on Ebay from the British Heart Foundation bookstore for $1396.
  18. Ohio collector Jim Barron bought the latest known copy from Californian bookseller Terence McVicker for $7000 in August 2019. Terence McVicker bought this on eBay from the British Heart Foundation for £4099 (about $5549) in November 2017. The book is in good condition and has a facsimile jacket.

Original dust jackets for this version and the lower-cost version of this publication are both in the collection of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Danny Street also found a copy of a dustjacket in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This differed from Lord’s copy in having a reduced price sticker and could be a second printing.

Source: Howard Works, ISFDB,the REHF newsletter v10-3/4 (fall-winter, 2016), the REHF newsletter v11-3/4 (fall/winter 2017), the REHF newletter v13-2 (summer 2019) and Windy City Pulp and Paper.  Thanks also to Lee Breakiron for providing me with corrections and extra information.

Facimile reprint of the cover from Lulu.com
Publisher: Herbert Jenkins
Year : 1937
Book No. : None
Edition : 1st
Format : Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages : 312
Cover art : Unknown
Illustrations : None
Howard Works ISFDB
The "gent" number 18. Owned by Jim Barron.

The Holy Gent or the Holy Grail of Howard collecting. ‘A Gent from Bear Creek’ was first published by Herbert Jenkins in England, 1937 after Howards death. The title of both an original short story, as well as a novel created by combining several previous short stories with some new material; the previously published short stories were altered a little to create chapters with a continuous story line, and new material was added as additional chapters.

Tags: Breckinridge Elkins / Herbert Jenkins / Robert E. Howard