You haven’t seen this. A search for images brings up nothing. It’s one of the rarest of all Gnome Press items. It’s the Gnome Press Fantasy Calendar for 1952.
Yes, it really does say Copyright 1949. Only Gnome. (The type is identical to that of the Fantasy Calendar for 1950, which was also on a bare white cover. Obviously, someone updated the 0 with a 2 but simply forget to update the Copyright date. Each page inside has the proper Copyright 1951 information on it.)
CHALKER says calendars were printed from 1949-1956 and in runs of up to 10,000 copies. This can’t be right. The 1949 and 1950 calendars are much scarcer than any of the books, which were published in much smaller quantities than 10,000. Admittedly books would be saved while calendars are ephemeral; even so, their rarity speaks to an original distribution that couldn’t be very large.
I saw a listing for the 1952 calendar once in the 1980s from Currey. It cost $150, and that was far too much to spend on an associational item at the time. Why not wait? So I waited. And waited. And waited. And when the Internet came along I placed a “want” on abebooks.com. And waited. Another decade or so went by. Then yesterday, as I write, I went to a dealer’s house because he had the original print blocks for the 1949 and 1950 calendars and I said, why, yes, I would like to see them. Imagine. We stared at them for a while. What can one do with a heavy box of science fiction history that nobody, not even I, am obsessive enough to want? He told me to look through the house, which was filled cellar to attic with books. He had a pile of 50s-vintage fanzines that I leafed through. They are uncategorized and unpriced. Why bother? They weren’t rare enough for him to spend the time on. He had purchased all of Marty Greenberg’s Gnome Press file copies from the person who had bought them in the 1970s. One of them was the trade paperback (Armed Forces edition) of Clifford Simak’s Cosmic Engineers that I’d also been hunting for thirty years. I asked him when I bought that if he had any of the later Gnome Press calendars. He didn’t think so, but when I got there, there it was. “Was this what you were asking about?” Yes. Yes, it was. A mile away from where I lived.
I still have never seen even a listing for the 1951 calendar, let alone the 1953, 1954, 1955, or 1956 ones. I’ve heard about a boast from a collector that he had a 1951. Earl Terry Kemp’s Gnome Press bibliography claimed an “Advertising calendar published 1949 through 1952″ although he only showed copies of the 1949 and 1950 calendars.
It’s impossible to believe that more would not have been carefully hoarded if copies were widespread. The Fantasy Calendar for 1952 is gorgeous – four full color pages, one for each season, all by Edd Cartier, one of Marty Greenberg’s favorite artists and omnipresent on the early books. You couldn’t miss it if you had a copy. It’s printed on B (ledger) sized paper, twice letter size at 11″ x 17”. The drawings cover a bit more than half a page, a shade larger than my scanner but the images below cut off as little as possible. Having only four pages but moving to color was an interesting ploy by Greenberg. It should have succeeded.
Anyway, I scanned these at 300 dpi for better quality. Enjoy.