by Stuart Finnie
For those of you who know who I am, this collection will be somewhat familiar to you. For those who do not, I hope you enjoy the photos, appreciate the books and above all else, understand my reasons for this message.
I have been reading Terry’s novels for more than thirty years now. And I have loved every single one of them. For me, he is the greatest living storyteller. He is able to continuously and consistently remove his readers from their lives and place them into his world, safe and sound. Yes, his style has changed over the years and the grand, sweeping epics that were The Elfstones of Shannara and the like have been replaced by longer-arcing narratives that really focus on character. I, for one, have embraced that change and now look forward to discovering how Terry will manipulate me to get to love his characters before letting them go. For that, I am eternally grateful to him.
But in addition to reading his work, I have also been collecting. And over the years, I have amassed a library of almost four hundred editions of his books. It is relatively simple to get a collection of signed first editions these days (abebooks and eBay have really helped the market) and as such, a full collection of the signed US 1st/1st copies would cost you around than $2000. But the art in collecting is making things unique, or different in some way. And that is what I have concentrated on over my twenty-odd years of collecting – making the collection as distinctive and special as possible. I love my books. I love what they represent. I love the fact that I have things that no one else has – and no one else can get again. But I hate the fact that I have to sell it.
You see, I am seriously ill. I had cancer in 2010 and although it was treated and I was in remission, it decided to return in mid-2014. I won’t go into detail, but it is of an unknown primary, with secondary tumours throughout my internal organs and bones. It is therefore untreatable, and in October of 2014 I was given between six and twelve months to live. We are now three months beyond that, and although I am feeling great and am determined to last as long as I can (just because I can’t be bothered dying yet) the time has come to let my collection go. And that makes me really, really sad.
Conservatively, my collection is worth around $58,000 (£40,000). Some notable editions are the US 1st/1st of Sword, signed by Terry and both Hildebrandt brothers (Tim sadly died in 2006) the US 1st/1sts of Elfstones and Wishsong, signed by Terry and Darrell K Sweet (who died in 2011) and the US 1st/1st of Druid signed by Keith Parkinson (who died in 2005). These are editions that obviously can never be replaced. Most of the Steve Stone covers are signed by Steve, too, something that is very rare indeed. My own personal favourite is the proof copy of Elfstones. I have, as I mentioned earlier, been collecting for more than two decades and I have only once seen this book come up for sale (I bought it, of course). Once – in twenty years. It is rare indeed.
There are also lots of other little rarities; including a small HB of Sword and Elfstones that no one (not Terry, nor Steve Stone) knows who published. And a UK Proof of Elves of Cintra, which was the only one Orbit produced. And there are other things like a full-size replica of the Sword of Shannara, made by an Italian blacksmith before it was shut down (he didn’t have the licence to reproduce the TM), and a business card signed by Judy-Lyn Del Rey, as well as numerous pieces of marketing material, the Charpentier maps and the not-so-rare but still fun LP and RPG.
Now for the kicker: I need to sell these, and quickly.
I’d love to say that I will only take face value for them, but I know that is not realistic. All I am asking for is a fair price. If I can get £25,000 (approx. $36,000), I would be delighted. I will listen to, and consider, any serious offer, though.
I want two things to happen here: One, to be here when the books get sold – that way I can ensure that they go to a good home, to someone who will not only look after them, but continue building the collection over the coming years; And two, to be able to use the money I get to have something of a ‘living will’, whereby I can not only give a large chunk of it to the charities who have helped my over my illness, but to also see those who would be left the money after my death actually enjoy it, whilst I am alive.
And this is an investment, for anyone serious. Kept in their current condition, the books will never decrease in value. Of course, with time, they will increase. And given the fact that Shannara is now on the television, it would be harder to find a more appropriate time to look at such an investment.
To view an Excel spreadsheet of all books in my collection, click HERE. To view photos, click HERE.
If anyone is seriously interested knowing more, and would consider purchasing them, please get in touch with me at email@example.com. I will listen to any offer and will gladly answer any questions.
All my best to you, my fellow Terry Brooks fans!