Some thirty years after Henty’s death his popularity as a writer for young readers waned. Attempts were made to update or abridge the stories but these had little appeal in a new modern age. However, Henty remained in many private collections and in school libraries, ensuring his name lived on.
In more recent times, an upsurge of interest on both sides of the Atlantic saw his books raised from the lower shelves to more prominence by antiquarian booksellers. Some modern American publishers, catering to the new ‘home schooling’ market are now republishing Henty titles but no modern publisher has managed to recreate the dazzling editions published in the UK a century or more ago.
Certain UK first and early editions are avidly sought by collectors. These rarely come on the market but collectors are constantly searching for the elusive titles that would enhance their collection. Members of the Society are advised of sales, auctions and specialist dealers. Contact with other members disseminates knowledge of all aspects of Henty’s books and the range of editions and levels of quality makes it possible to assemble an interesting collection.
Collecting G A Henty titles cannot be easily defined since it will depend on each collector’s particular interest or priority. Some have shelves of fine first issues of first editions - unread but admired for their magnificent bindings. Others search for unusual editions, those with known provenance, or books in original dust wrappers. Some search out every edition hoping to find a variation worthy of inclusion by the Bibliographer. Others are content with reading copies, enabling them to pass enjoyable hours recapturing youthful adventure in an accurate historical context.
Of the collections in the possession of public libraries and universities, one of the most comprehensive and accessible is the Brown Collection (see reference under 'Gatherings') at the University of Worcester, England. For details and access click on http://www.worc.ac.uk/ils/893.htm.
The Society regrets it is unable to offer a valuation service.