The Conan stories were written by Robert E. Howard and first appeared in the magazine Weird Tales, first appearing in 1932. The stories did not appear in book format until The Gnome Press editions published from 1950 to 1957. They were the first hardcover collection of Howard’s Conan stories, including all the original Howard material known to exist at the time, some left unpublished in his lifetime. We take a look at this collection, along with some auction prices.
With the exception of Tales of Conan, which jumped around to offer random episodes from various stages in the protagonist’s career, Gnome’s volumes were structured to display the stories in order of their internal chronology while not being published in the order of prior publications. L. Sprague de Camp completed or altered some of the stories in two of the later volumes (The Coming of Conan and King Conan), and he also adapted non-Conan Howard pieces as Conan tales for another (Tales of Conan).
The first Conan tale written by someone other than Howard, The Return of Conan, namely Björn Nyberg, appeared in the final book of the Gnome edition, which was revised by de Camp.
There were seven books in the Gnome Press series of hardback books: Conan the Conqueror (also known as The Hour of the Dragon; 1950); The Sword of Conan (1952); The Coming of Conan (1953); King Conan (1953); Conan the Barbarian (1954); Tales of Conan (1955; originally non-Conan Howard stories rewritten as Conan stories by L. Sprague de Camp) and The Return of Conan (1957; by Björn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp).
The Conan Books from Gnome Press Price Guide
As with all books, collectors are looking for very fine editions with dust jackets. Prices for for First Editions First Printings. A good copy of each book is estimated at $110 / £100 with very fine copies upward to $400 / £330. In the current mark serious collectors would pay a premium for near mint copies if any were to come to market. We include some realised auction prices.
Collecting Conan Paperbacks