Remember that cache of Arkham House ephemera I landed the other week, anchored by a TLS by August Derleth on a Solar Pons greeting card he had had printed up?
I thought just having the little signed note by Derleth was a main attraction, but then I was chatting with my ephemera collecting pal John D. Haefele about it and thought to ask:
Have you ever seen this Solar Pons greeting card before?
His answer: No.
Suddenly, I was on the hunt.
Wait a second. Have you ever seen ANY Solar Pons greeting cards before?
His answer: No.
Now, Haefele may or may not be the ultimate authority on Solar Pons stuff, but he knows more about Derleth than anyone I have ever encountered — and if he didn’t know about the card, I felt sure I had landed something very cool.
Obviously Derleth had the cards printed up, perhaps for specific correspondence related to either Pons in general or the forthcoming collection The Chronicles of Solar Pons. But then Derleth died before that book would appear.
How many were printed?
How many used?
Do I have the only one in existence today?
Or are there another dozen, or half-dozen. . .?
Our talk got Haefele thinking Pontine thoughts, so he took a brief break from working on Lovecraft: The Great Tales (he’s sending me sections as he works them up, terrific stuff) to do a post on the origins of Pons on the Allied Authors site. Old School Bookman thoughts invoking Robert Bloch and sf editor Ray Palmer — hop on over and read it.
Best part was that Haefele pulled another piece of rare Solar Pons ephemera from his private collection, as shown at the top: a centennial Best Wishes from Pons to Sherlock Holmes, signed by Derleth and additionally notarized by Mycroft Holmes and Col. Sebastian Moran, namesakes of the Pontine publisher Mycroft & Moran.
I presume this item is genuine ephemera — which is to say, a printed item even if signed personally by Derleth (and Mycroft & Moran). Not a lone note mocked up by Derleth to send to some individual Sherlock Holmes nut like, oh, good old Vincent Starrett.
You can tell if the item is printed or typed, because Derleth’s forceful keystrokes indent commas and periods through the back of the paper. My Solar Pons greeting card, when viewed from the back, kind of looks like Brail.
Yeah, I guess the ephemera collecting game is once more afoot. . . .