Friday, March 20, 2015

The Shadow Pulp Magazine Auction

If you ever wondered what the prices are for vintage pulp magazines, this quick bit of trivia might surprise you. (Always good to learn something new, isn't it?) On the evening of April 26, 2014, an auction was held in Chicago, Illinois, highlighting a massive collection of original Shadow pulp magazines, digests and other Shadow related materials. The consignor collected this material over the past 40 years. Unfortunately, health issues forced him to sell much of his material to pay off medical bills. The materials were available for inspection in a ballroom at the Westin Yorktown Lombard Center, during the Windy City Pulp and Paper Show. While many of the 1940s issues appeared in great condition, most of the 1930s issues were trimmed along the three sides (not the spine, of course) which cut down on the value of the issues. There was a buyer's premium of ten percent added to the amount of the winning bid. Credit card and Paypal purchases added a 5 percent surcharge on top of this. With 112 individual lots, you can imagine how long it took for them to go through the entire inventory during the auction and the prices are still amazing considering the alterations described above. Here is a complete breakdown on the auction prizes.

1. Three pulp magazine: Murder Marsh (10/1/34), The Unseen Killer (12/1/34) and The Blue Sphinx (1/15/35). $50

2. Three pulps: The Yellow Door (7/1/36), Terror Island (8/15/36) and Death by Proxy (10/15/36). $45

3. Three pulps: Partners of Peril (11/1/36), The Strange Disappearance of Joe Cardona (11/15/36) and The Seven Drops of Blood (12/1/36).  $45

4. Death Token (3/1/37) $25

5. The Shadow's Rival (6/15/37) $35

6. House of Silence (7/15/37) $35

7. Teeth of the Dragon (11/15/37) $55

8. The Golden Dog Murders (9/1/38) $30

9. Double Death (12/15/38) $45

10. Crime Rides the Sea (1/15/39) $25

11. The Three Brothers (5/15/39) $20

12. Noose of Death (7/1/39) $15

13. Isle of Gold (8/1/39) $20

14. Three pulps: Castle of Doom (1/15/36), The City of Doom (5/15/36) and The Crime Oracle (6/1/36). $50

15. Three pulps: Intimidation, Inc. (12/15/36), Vengeance is Mine! (1/1/37) and The Masked Headsman (4/15/37). $45

16. All three Shadow Annuals from 1942, 1943 and 1947. No back cover, small piece out of last page which affects the short story, but do not affect the Shadow stories. $30

17. Complete set of all four Shadow Crime Club hardcover books. In mylar dust jackets, very nice shape. $60

18. Two Norgil The Magician hardcovers from The Mysterious Press. Both authored by Walter B. Gibson. In nice shape. $40

19. Three Shadow books: The Weird Adventures of The Shadow (hardcover in mylar dust jacket), The Crime Oracle and the Teeth of the Dragon (trade paperback) and The Shadow Knows (trade paperback reprinting radio scripts). $30

20. The Shadow and the Golden Master (Mysterious Press hardcover). Two copies of the same book. $20

21. Three pulps: The Cup of Confucius (5/1/37), The Sealed Box (12/1/37), and Racket Town (12/15/37). $50

22. Three pulps: The Fifth Napoleon (2/1/38), The Crimson Phoenix (4/1/38) and Serpents of Siva (4/15/38). $60

23. Three pulps: Cards of Death (5/1/38), The Hand (5/15/38) and Voodoo Trail (6/1/38). $50

24. City of Ghosts (11/15/39) $20

25. Castle of Crime (10/1/39) $20

26. Hidden Death (September 1932) $100

27. The Death Giver (5/15/33) $30

28. The Silver Scourge (7/15/33) $45

29. Mox (11/15/33) $35

30. The Chinese Discs (11/1/34) $45

31. The Dark Death (2/15/35) $35

Radio programs on audio cassette.

32. The House That Vanished (10/15/35) $30

33. The Voodoo Master (3/1/36) $30

34. Three pulps: The Romanoff Jewels (12/1/32), The Crime Clinic (12/1/33) and The Garaucan Swindle (9/15/34). $50

35. Three pulps: The Plot Master (2/1/35), Crooks Go Straight (3/1/35) and The Triple Trail (4/15/35). $45

36. Two Shadow Reference Books. "The Night Master" by Robert Sampson, in mylar jacket. "Gangdom's Doom" by Frank Eisgruber. $70

37. The Duende History of The Shadow Magazine, numbers one and two. $50

38. The Shadow Scrapbook, by Walter B. Gibson. $15

39. Five Shadow related publications. "Unseen Shadows" by Jim Steranko, "The Shadow Official Movie Magazine," "Cinefantastique" (August 1994), "Model and Toy Collector (#28), and "Near Mint" (#5). $20

40. The Shadow Coloring Book. Two copies. $15 per book, one sold to two different bidders.

41. Three pulps: The Condor (6/15/35), The London Crimes (9/1/35) and Zemba (12/1/35). $60

42. Three pulps: The Rackets King (6/15/38), Murder for Sale (7/1/38) and The Golden Vulture (7/15/38). $60

43. Three pulps: The Green Hoods (8/15/38), Vanished Treasure (10/15/38) and Silver Skull (1/1/39). $45

44. The Third Shadow (3/15/36) Strasser copy (white pages!!), but trimmed. $70

45. Dead Man's Chest (Fall 1948) $50

46. The Man Who Died Twice (9/15/40) $40

47. The Shadow, The Hawk and the Skull (12/15/40) $40

48. Forgotten Gold (1/1/41) $35

49. The Wasp Returns (2/1/41) $35

50. The Chinese Primrose (2/15/41) $20

51. Mansion of Crime (3/1/41) $30

52. The House on the Ledge (4/15/41) $40

53. The League of Death (5/1/41) $35

54. Three digests: The Chest of Chu Chan (September 1944), The Shadow Meets the Mask (October 1944), and Fountain of Death (November 1944). $60

55. Three digests: No Time for Murder (December 1944), Five Keys to Crime (March 1945) and Tear-Drops of Buddha (May 1945). $50

56. The Shadow Movie Phurba Dagger. Dutch auction, two daggers for sale. First sold for $40, the second sold for $25 

57. The Shadow bust by Graphitti Designs. In box. Rarely pops up on eBay twice a year and goes for large money. $170

58. Two Ideal library hardcovers. "The Living Shadow" and "Eyes of the Shadow." $90

59. Three Blue Coal items. Blue Coal ink blotter (mis advertised at the auction as a Blue Coal Advertising Card), Blue Coal matchbook cover featuring The Shadow, and a Blue Coal model train car. The first two are a dime a dozen on eBay but the last item is a rare find. $50

60. The Shadow Secret Society materials. Two mailing envelopes, two copies of each Bulletin (#1 and #3), one copy of Bulletin #2, two copies of the Official Index to The Shadow Pulp Adventures (one with handwritten notes) and one club button. $60

61. Three pulps: River of Death (3/1/39), Battle of Greed (4/15/39) and City of Shadows (6/15/39). $40

62. Three pulps: Wizard of Crime (8/15/39), The Crime Ray (9/1/39) and Ships of Doom (11/1/39). $30

63. Three pulps: Shiwan Khan Returns (12/1/39), The Thunder King (6/15/41) and The Crimson Death (8/1/41). $50

64. The Shadow Meets the Mask (8/15/41). Same title, different novel (see #54 above), by the way. $30

65. Gems of Jeopardy (9/1/41) $45

66. The Devil Master (9/15/41) $45

67. Temple of Crime (11/15/41) $50

68. Alibi Trail (1/1/42) $80

69. Death Diamonds (2/1/42) $45

70. Vengeance Bay (3/1/42) $60

71. Formula for Crime (3/15/42) $70

72. Room of Doom (4/1/42) $60

73. Three digests: Three Stamps of Death (June 1945), Murder by Magic (August 1945) and Mother Goos Murders (March 1946). $50

74. Three digests: Malmordo (July 1946), No Safety in Numbers (November 1946) and Jade Dragon (August/September 1948). $100

75. Eight pulps in one lot: The Grove of Doom (9/1/33), Tower of Death (5/1/34, no back cover), Charg, Monster (7/1/34), Doom on the Hill (11/15/34), Cyro (12/15/34, no back cover), Death jewels (8/1/38), Crime Over Boston (9/15/38), The Voice (11/1/38). $80

76. Seventeen pulps in one lot: Lingo (4/1/35, no front cover), The Chinese Tapestry (11/1/35, no front cover), The Case of Congressman Coyd (12/15/35, no spine, no back cover, two missing pages); Murder Town (6/15/36, no back cover, four missing pages), The Broken Napoleons (7/15/36, no back cover, missing four pages), Foxhound (no back cover, missing four pages (1/15/37), Shadow Over Alcatraz (12/1/38, no back cover, no spine), Realm of Doom (2/1/39, no back cover, no spine), Death from Nowhere (7/15/39, no back cover, small text loss on some pages), Voice of Death (2/15/40, no back cover), Master of Flame (5/15/41, no back cover), Murder Mansion (12/1/41), Death in the Crystal (8/44, missing front cover), A Quarter of Eight (October 1945, no back cover, missing one page), Alibi Trail (June 1946), Malmordo (July 1946), and Death on Ice (December 1946, no front cover, no spine). $35

77. Ten Belmont Shadow paperbacks. Complete run of nine, with one duplicate. $30

78.  34 Pyramid/HBJ Shadow paperbacks. Numbers 1 to 23, with 11 duplicates. Two copies of number one are signed by Steranko. $90

79. Fourteen Shadow Paperbacks. Eleven Bantam (numbers one to seven, with four duplicates), two New English Library (UK) and one Tempo. $20

80. All three Big Little Books. The Shadow and the Master of Evil, The Shadow and the Living Death, and The Shadow and the Ghost Makers. $50

81. Three pulps: Death's Premium (1/1/40), The Hooded Circle (1/15/40) and The Invincible Shiwan Khan (3/1/40). $50

82. Three pulps: The Veiled Prophet (3/15/40), The Spy Ring (4/1/40) and The Prince of Evil (4/15/40). $70

83. Three pulps: Death in the Stars (5/1/40), Masters of Death (5/15/40), and The Scent of Death (6/1/40). $50

84. The Jade Dragon (4/15/42) $70

85. The Northdale Mystery (5/1/42) $20

86. The Devil's Feud (6/15/42) $110

87. Death About Town (7/15/42). Finest condition in the auction. $150

88. Legacy of Death (8/1/42) $45

89. Syndicate of Sin (9/15/42) $50

90. The Devil's Partner (10/1/42) $50

91. The Murdering Ghost (11/15/42) $40

92. King of the Black Market (October 1943) $25

93. The Black Dragon (3/1/43) $30

94. Wizard of Crime (2/15/43) $45

95. The Money Maker (12/15/42) $45

96. The Hydra (12/1/42) $50

97. The Shadow Movie card set lot. One complete card set (90 regular, 10 legend, 4 chase and 1 promo), two empty 36-count boxes, one empty box, five extra chase cards, one box of extra legends cards, and five boxes of extra regular cards. $10

98. The Shadow Movie card set. Ten legend and 90 regular cards. Four copies, dutch auction. Same buyer won all four sets at $5 each.

98.1 Steranko card set of one through 78, plus 19 extra Shadow cards. $25

99. Men's extra large tee shirt with Shadow painting, one Shadow movie poster and one Shadow pin. $10

100. Two cassette cases of Shadow radio programs, with listings of shows included. Approximately 120 radio shows. $10

101. Three pulps: Gems of Doom (7/15/40), Crime at Seven Oaks (8/1/40), and The Fifth Race (8/15/40). $40

102. Three pulps: Crime County (9/1/40), The Devil's Paymaster (11/15/40) and Xitli, God of Fire (12/1/40). $50

103. Four pulps: The White Column (3/15/41), The Time Master (4/1/41), Garden of Death (10/1/41) and Twins of Crime (6/1/42). $50

104. Three pulps: Judge Lawless (8/15/42), The Vampire Murders (9/1/42) and Clue for Clue (10/15/42). $30

105. Four pulps: Trail of Vengeance (11/1/42), The Museum Murders (1/1/43), Death's Masquerade (1/15/43) and Young Men of Death (April 1943). $60

106. Three digests: The Robot Master (May 1943), Murder Lake (June 1943) and The Magigals Mystery (Winter 1949). $60

107. Five digests: Murder by Moonlight (December 1943), The Crystal Skull (January 1944), Syndicate of Death (February 1944), The Toll of Death (March 1944) and Crime Caravan (April 1944). $60

108. Five digests: Town of Hate (July 1944), Guardian of Death (January 1945), Merry Mrs. MacBeth (February 1945), Death Has Green Eyes (April 1945) and The Mask of Mephisto (July 1945). $80

109. Five digests: The White Skulls (November 1945), The Stars Promise Death (December 1945), The Banshee Murders (January 1946), Crime Out of Mind (February 1946) and Crime Over Casco (April 1946). $80

110. Five digests: The Curse of Thoth (May 1946), Happy Death Day (September 1946), Seven Deadly Arts (October 1946), Death on Ice (December 1946) and Death Stalks the U.N. (January 1947). $100

111. Four digests: Murder in White (February and March 1947), Room 1313 (April and May 1947), Model Murder (June and July 1947) and Svengali Kill (August and September 1947). $80

112. Four digests: Jabberwocky Thrust (October and November 1947), Ten Glass Eyes (December 1947 to January 1948), The Television Murders (February and March 1948) and Reign of Terror (June and July 1948). $120

So whether you buy your Shadow pulps from eBay or vendors who sell specialize in selling pulps, the above auction list and gavel prices might be of amusement. If you have been purchasing the paperback reprints, I do not recommend "Xitli, God of Fire" which is a horrible story. On the recommended reading list: "The White Column," "The Hydra," "Zenda," "The Black Master" and "Crime Rides the Sea." (Voted best novel by Shadow fans is "The Voodoo Master.") Unlike comic books, there is no such thing as a pulp magazine prize guide... overwhelming agreed by most pulp vendors for the simple fact that value and prices are "relative" and a price guide might diminish the collectibility of pulps. For that reason, prices vary considerably between vendors and venues (eBay, websites, collectors, etc.).

This year's Windy City Pulp and Paper Show is April 17 to 19. There's a lot more than an evening auction. Loads of vendors selling vintage paper memorabilia, old movies being screened, slide show seminars, and so on.  A frequent attendee myself, I often find myself coming back home with a dozen paperbacks and old magazines every year.
Check out the website for more details:


David said...

Hmmm. I have a few Shadow pulps. I had no idea they were worth that much. Picked them for very little at a couple of flea markets.

On another topic, I picked up some transcriptions lately, among which were AFRS discs of six of the 1952 INNER SANCTUMs. No big deal, as all of those shows have been in circulation for decades. What interests me, though, is that the versions of all six of these shows that are in circulation have had most of the fill music at the end of the shows chopped short. Sometimes extremely short. Straight off the transcriptions, all six of these shows time out to right about 25 minutes, give or take a few seconds. The circulating copies of these all run about 22-23 minutes, because someone faded out the fill music right after the AFRS system cue. (One of them doesn't even wait that long. The creaking door closes, and there's a fast fade after about five seconds of the fill music.)

It's not a big deal at all. Just made me curious, why in the world anyone would do that? Given that these shows have all been in circulation for more than forty years, and that all circulating copies of these I've run across have had the fill music chopped short, it was obviously done a long time ago, either by the person who originated the transfers or not long after they entered circulation among collectors.

I've just never understood why some collectors feel the need to make these kinds of edits to radio programs. It's like some of the AFRS MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE shows that are in circulation that have had the MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE intro and outro's cut off (or in the case of some INNER SANCTUMs rebroadcast on MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE, have had openings and closings from surviving network shows tacked on at the beginning.) I have duplicate copies of a few MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE shows that had, at the end of the show, a "preview" of the next MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE broadcast. These previews ran as long as five minutes. Like I said, though, I have duplicate copies of some of those shows in which people have rather crudely edited out the preview.

I just have never understood why people feel the need to make these kinds of "improvements," which I, personally, think are mutilations. It's not that I'm that attached to fill music and previews of the next story. I just prefer my shows to be complete as they survive on the disc. Not as complete as someone decided they should be because they opted to go through and cut out this or that element.

Charles said...

I understand about not understanding people who edit old radio shows. I wish I knew what they were thinking. I'll give you a MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE / INNER SANCTUM example, though. I have two copies of an INNER SANCTUM story titled "Dead Man's Vengeance," aired on October 7, 1944, and surviving today as a MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE rebroadcast from Armed Forces Radio. One of my copies is complete with the MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE opening and closing, and the preview of the next MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE presentation. Running time is around 30 minutes. The other copy -- the one that appears to be in wide circulation -- has had all the MYSTERY PLAYHOUSE elements edited out of it, leaving only the INNER SANCTUM part of the show. It only runs about 20 minutes. You can compare the disc noise and tell that both of these originated from the same transfer. It's just that someone at some point decided to chop everything out of the broadcast that wasn't INNER SANCTUM.

I agree that in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. The INNER SANCTUM story, after all, is complete. It annoys me, though. You want to hack up your personal copies -- fine. Go ahead and do it. Just please don't put your hacked up versions into circulation.

Funny thing is, it seems kind of pointless. It's not like those scummy types who deliberately switch program openings and closings around, trying to fool people into thinking they have "new" episodes of a series to offer.

I once had a collector, who was trying to turn AFRS rebroadcasts of Jack Benny shows into "network shows" by replacing the AFRS openings and closings with openings and closings he lifted from network rebroadcasts, insist that was he was doing was "restoration."

Well, no, it wasn't "restoration." What he was creating were cobbled-together pastiches that fooled no one. They sounded like exactly what they were. AFRS rebroadcasts with network openings and closings tacked on at the beginning and end.

I agree, I'd rather have shows complete as they survive on the disc, too. Don't try to "improve" it by editing things out of it or adding things to it. Don't try to make an AFRS rebroadcast sound like a network broadcast and call it "restoration," because it's not. Your word "mutilations" is more appropriate. It's also dishonest.

And since I've gone on long enough, I won't even get started on the heavy-handed amateur attempts at noise reduction that have left some old radio shows just about unlistenable.

Mike Hobart said...

People have all sorts of motives. Once I was listening to a batch of CBS Radio Mystery Theater and I was getting really tired of that opening. I thought that it would be quite simple to remove the opening and just leave the story. But then I decided, in the words of Buffy the vampire slayer, "That would be wrong."

Bob said...

You guys with transcriptions, may I suggest you consider contacting either Radio Spirits or Radio Archives about them? Both are reputable businesses and are always on the lookout for uncirculated shows and/or source material that's as close to the original transcription as they can get.

Editing...yeah, I agree. I don't like it. Like the guy said above, you want to edit your shows, edit to your heart's content. Just kindly do the rest of us a favor and don't put them into circulation.

Bad noise reduction... yeah, that's kind of a pet peeve of mine. I've gotten to where I ask dealers if they can provide me copies of their shows that haven't had digital clean-up. Some will, some won't. A little clean-up isn't a bad thing. Seems like people tend to push it too far, though, trying to get rid of every trace of disc noise and tape hiss, which you can rarely do without damaging the listenability of the program. The worst to me is the overdone noise gating that causes the volume of the show to pump up and down in an exaggerated way (too quiet when people are talking softly and too loud when they're talking loudly), and cuts out the sound completely when no one is talking. I can't listen to shows that have been cleaned up like that. Antique sound off the transcription intercut with eerie digital dead silence when there's no sound.

Bob M said...

Wow. The seller of the Shadow books could have made a lot more money by selling the books on eBay...

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