Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sam Steele Series by L. Frank Baum

Only edition of book #2.

Among the rarest of all juvenile series books are the Sam Steele books published by Reilly and Britton. They are hard to find because they had short print runs and because their author, Captain Hugh Fitzgerald was really L. Frank Baum. So every Oz collector in the universe is hunting for them.

Sam Steele is an orphan but as is commonly the case in heroes of this era he is strong, clever, brave, etc., especially for a sixteen year old embarking on world wide adventures. The stories were not a big hit but Reilly and Britton refused to let them die. Instead they renamed the first two books -The Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska and in Panama and republished them with the new pseudonym Floyd Akers. These first two books were reprinted in 1908 with one new Fortune Hunter title . Eventually this new series had six books. (More about this series in the future).

Second edition of Book #1

Of course, the holy grail would be one of the Sam Steele books with a dust jacket. All the Reilly and Britton books of this era had jackets. Thus, these books had them originally. Of course, finding one---there's a challenge.

In 1993 at the Greenes' Baum auction conducted by the Swann Galleries both editions of Adventures on Land and Sea were auctioned. Sam Steele's Adventures in Panama was also auctioned. At that time the Greene's, Baum bibliographers, noted that their copy of Panama was the only one that they had ever seen. It sold for $1320. Of special note is that one of the five illustrations was missing. It has been reported that the scarcity is due to there being only one printing of this title.

First edition of Book #1

At that auction the first edition of book #1 sold for $440 and the second edition sold for $247.

The second edition of Sam Steele's Adventures on Land and Sea sold at auction in 2004 for $230. But this copy was missing the five Howard Heath illustrations.

The pseudonym of Captain Hugh Fitzgerald was used for these two books.

The books:

1. Sam Steele's Adventures-1906 (See picture)
Adventures on Land and Sea (second edition)
2. Sam Steele's Adventures in Panama-1907 (only one edition)

1 comment:

  1. I have a 1908 edition of The Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska. It is in excellent condition and I am interested in selling it. I will consider any fair offer. I have an idea of the auction and retail value and the importance of a Baum (Akers)book in this condition.
    Thank-you for your consideration,
    Rory Leombruni