Yet more fabulous items in the latest eagerly-awaited list from Weiser Antiquarian. This one is Catalogue 122: Aleister Crowley: Used and Rare Books and Ephemera.
The catalogue comprises our usual mixed selection, ranging from relatively recent reprints to some genuine rarities. Amongst the more unusual books are a copy of what is arguably the most handsome book published by Crowley during his lifetime: The Book of Thoth (1944) limited to 200 signed and numbered copies; as well as a First Edition of The Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King (1904) resplendent in a later black full-leather binding; and a copy of The Winged Beetle (1910), limited to 300 numbered copies thus, a work which famously has an alarming and blasphemous alternate meaning encrypted in its dedication. Also unusual are a near-fine copy of Book 4, Part I (1912), a proof copy of The Equinox, Vol. I No V (1911), and a copy of the “leather-bound” issue of the 1981 Thelema Publishing edition of The Book of the Law, limited to 200 copies. Somewhat quirkier items include two original metal printing blocks for the spine and cover titling of the 1976 Thelema publications edition of “The Book of the Law” and a selection of different editions of Leah Sublime, including the infamous Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Leah Sublime (1996), whose instigator, the appositely pseudonymed Frater Pheremone assured that there really was a scent underneath each of the paper swatches (although perhaps mercifully, whatever odour there was seems unlikely to have survived the passing of time).
A small collection of quite remarkable ephemera, all in Crowley’s handwriting, includes some particularly interesting items, such as a picture postcard of “Voo-doo’s Bar” in 1930s Berlin sent by Crowley to Colonel J. F. C. Carter, of Scotland Yard, in which he jokes about his own activities as an informant and Carter’s concerns for Maria Theresa de Mirimar; and a rough draft of a letter in which “the Beast” accuses a doctor of malpractice, quite possibly on the basis that he had performed abortions, to which Crowley was strongly opposed. Two letters, both signed, from Crowley to Frieda Harris, shed light on their relationship, with one including his musings on his new lodgings, and the other his thoughts on progress with the tarot. A selection of works with contributions by Crowley, includes a number of very scarce magazines with pieces by and about him, including a bound volume of The Idler (1909) which contains the first publication of the short story “The Drug” which was not only the first short story to be sold by Crowley but probably one of the first accounts of a “psychedelic experience” to be published in England.