Paul Gallico (1897 - 1976), was one of the great storytellers and writers of the 20th century. Journalist, novelist, screenwriter, he was born in New York and died in Monaco but spent much of his life living in Saltram in Devon. Gallico is known for writing a number of major books and films of the mid-20th century. He is probably best known for The Snow Goose, and for The Posiedon Adventure as well, with film adaptions of this made in 1973 and 2005 - and now, in 2022, we await the latest film adaptation of one of his books - Mrs Harris Goes to New York.
He launched his writing career in 1919 with an interview of American champion boxer Jack Dempsey and, having asked to spar with him, Gallico then went on to describe how it felt to be knocked out. From this start, his writing career continued to grow, moving to more general journalism then on to fiction and then selling his stories to film studios such as Walt Disney. He also found time to be a war correspondent during the Second World War.
Gallico was a good friend of Ian Fleming, working with him on the Sunday Times, and he shared Fleming’s interests in golf, diving and fencing. Fleming sent an initial typescript of his first book Casino Royale to Gallico asking if it was publishable – Gallico replied to Fleming ‘The book is a knockout!’ The rest is history. Gallico also wrote an introductory essay to the first 007 Omnibus ‘Gilt-Edged Bonds’.
Gallico had a number of other literary links – he was a neighbour of Graham Greene in Antibes and he influenced J.K.Rowling as well: in 2002 she stated that Gallico’s Manxmouse was one of her favourite books and the “clutterbumph” that appears in Gallico’s book closely resembles the “Boggart” Rowling went on to create for the Harry Potter series - a being that manifests itself into whatever the viewer most fears.
At Chiswick Auctions we are delighted to be able to be offering, on 27 January 2022, a fascinating and eclectic sale of the Gallico Estate’s Library and Contents. Although the sale is primarily an auction of Books and Works on Paper we will also be offering furniture, original art, posters (including the very desirable first film poster of Dr No) and a complete set of Fleming’s Bond novels in their first editions, and, unusually, eight of these are inscribed by Fleming to Paul Gallico. We also have on offer Gallico’s own leather jacket, worn when he was a war correspondent and his two typewriters. Other collectables in the sale include J.K. Rowling’s The Philosopher’s Stone in its first hardback edition, and many other signed books and items
First edition, first issue. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author to ‘Paul [Gallico] from Balzache. 1953’ to front endpaper, original boards, an excellent example overall, [Gilbert A1a1.1], 8vo., 1953.
Est £18,000 - £22000
*** An extremely good copy of the author's first novel to one of his best friends; Fleming had asked Gallico to read the first typescript. Here the blokey wordplay play on Balzac ‘balls/ache’ reflects literary jokery. (They were known as great drinking buddies!)
First edition, first impression, presentation copy from the author ‘To Paul, who spread his wings over my first-born’, original black cloth lettered in silver, original decorated dust-jacket, [Gilbert A4a.1], 8vo, 1956
Est. £12,000 - £18,000
*** This copy has a warm and personal inscription, referring to Fleming’s first novel Casino Royale that Gallico was instrumental in getting published
A collection of 31 of the 41 titles written by Gallico, mostly first editions and bound in full morocco, gilt, by Sangorski and Sutcliffe,
Est. £400 - £600
To include: The Story of Silent Night, 1967 (2 copies); The Snow Goose, 1953 Ludmilla, 1955; Thomasina, 1957; Flowers for Mrs. Harris, 1958; Mrs. Harris Goes to New York, 1960; Mrs. Harris M.P., 1965; The Poseidon Adventure, 1969.
A New Terrestrial Globe on which are laid down various discoveries of Captain Cook, Vancouver de Laperouse, London, made and sold by J & W Cary, August 1836; together with A New Celestial Globe, on which the whole of the stars to the fifth Magnitude inclusive with part of the fifth are correctly laid down calculated to the year 1800, also, London, made and sold by J & W Cary, August 1816. Both globes are lacquered, with some surface rubbing, in calibrated brass meridian rings with polar hour rings, Gregorian and Zodiacal calendars, each having four baluster-turned mahogany legs joined by a tapering "X" stretcher.
Est. £1800 - £2200
A collection of books by the author, inscribed and signed. (n.b. the list here below of titles does not include all items).
Est. £400 - £600
First editions, unless stated otherwise, to include: Farewell to Sport, signed, NY, 1938; Matilda, inscribed, 1971; The Day the Guinea-pig Talked, signed, 1963; The Story of Silent Night, inscribed, 1967; Snow Goose, 30th imp., signed, annotated, 1953, together with a ‘flier’ for Foyles Literary Luncheons, Friday 29th November 1963 in Gallico’s Honour. All books are inscribed to Lady Dorothy Curtis-Bennett (Gallico’s mother-in-law) and all books are in their original cloth or board bindings, most with original dust-jackets, fair to good condition, v.s. (19)
An archive of correspondence with notable figures, ephemera and newspaper clippings, compiled by the author, consisting of 36 folio albums, each focusing on a particular publication or subject; both autograph and typed letters, the majority pasted in, including:
· Laura Knight: four letters, three with autograph drawings: ‘As for Jennie, she also lives. What a superb imagination you have. It springs into reality in every book.’
· David Niven: two letters: ‘Dear Mr Gallico, Yours of 17 Feb received, read and deeply resented. [...] you, unless my memory fails me, once tried to take the bread out of poor ailing Jack Dempsey’s basket. Also Lennie Lyons is a c*nt… though you don’t have to quote me’; ‘[...] the other in Paris with that ugly old Italian broad - Sophia Loren!’
· Noël Coward: letter: ‘I was riveted by ‘Poseidon’ from beginning to end [...] I didn’t actually read it hanging upside down from a glass chandelier but I was certainly hanging from the chandelier for several days after [...]’
A more inclusive list is available on request.
Est. 800 – 1200