Henry Kuttner & CL Moore
Last recorded sale
Last sold price
3.a Cloth binding with slipcase: 215 or 300 limitation - $225 (200 or 300 in black numbers), NFS (15 or 85 in red numbers)
3.b.i Trade hardcover with dust jacket: 1000+ limitation - unknown price
3.b.ii Trade hardcover with dust jacket, BCE/BOMC: unknown quantity - unknown price
Published as Centipede Press; 2005
Original price: $225/unknown/unknown
The third book published by Centipede Press was a compilation of stories written by the husband and wife team of Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore. They met because they were both devotees of Lovecraft and you can read more on Wikipedia about them if you want.
The book itself has two states, and is the only CP book (to my knowledge) to have a trade hardcover state, although the following two years (2006 and 2007) saw the release of multiple Millipede Press books, which were generally released with trade paperback versions.
The limited state of Two-Handed Engine is quarter bound with black cloth on the spine and very nice red cloth on the boards. The slipcase is black cloth with an inset frontispiece. You can see that my copy has some slight rubbing on the edges of the frontispiece (which for most CP books is a small print with a backed adhesive placed in an indentation). Eventually I’d like to upgrade, but this is one of the rarer non-deluxe titles, having come up for public sale only twice in the last 5 years (that I’m aware of) – one on eBay in 2016 that was snatched up via BIN very quickly, and the other through a bookseller in the US that had acquired a sizable collection from a now-deceased collector and contributor to weird fiction
You’ll notice that the slipcase has the plain gray cardboard interior – future slipcases have black cardboard or cloth interiors.
The spine is stamped in gold, and unlike many future volumes has all the text at the top. There are a number of different ways to display spine text, and this is more similar to the later text on the dustjackets, in terms of spacing, compared to the next few dozen releases, which were primarily also metallic spine printing stamped on black cloth. Also, at this point, there were no logos placed on the spine.
This book is not signed, and as you may be able to tell from the bibliographical information, there is a question about how many limited edition copies were produced, and how many were black vs. red. This is because the limitation page itself can’t quite make up its mind
So there are 215, of which 200 are for sale. But copies 1-300 are numbered in black and the rest in red.
I think that the 1-300 is probably a typo that is supposed to say “1-200”. And the two black numbers I have seen bear this out (as both have been under 200). I’d be really interested to hear if anyone owns or has seen a black number over 200.
Also, this is one of the few remaining books that were hand-numbered! Yes, to my knowledge there are very few remaining hand-numbered books. Some subsequent editions do retain a black vs. red distinction for the printed numbers, but they tend to hold to a pattern that we’ll observe and discuss as we move forward.
The endpapers on this book mark the debut of a nice textured black paper that has been continued to be used in a good number of other Centipede Press books throughout the years. To some extent it’s the “default” endpaper – in many editions there are fancier or differently patterned endpapers that mirror some other aspect of the design or story, or are just pretty looking – but there are almost never plain endpapers used after Stigmata (which are plain red and not noteworthy and thus not shown in that post). This swirly textured black endpaper is probably the most common of them, though I haven’t sat down and made a count of all the different types of endpapers, so we’ll see if this is borne out as we continue.
Bibliography by Timothy Booksker adapted from thedarktower forum
Synopsis from CP website
Two-Handed Engine is the largest collection of science fiction and fantasy by Henry Kuttner & C.L. Moore ever published. It features a frontispiece by Richard Powers, and an introduction by the book’s editor, David Curtis.
The stories, ranging from across their entire career, include: Shambleau, The Graveyard Rats, Mimsy Were the Borogoves, Vintage Season, Private Eye, and more. Please write us for a PDF of the contents. The book is bound in cloth and has a four-color frontispiece with a translucent overlay. The book comes enclosed in a cloth-bound traycase.