Number of Books: 1500
Collecting Since: 1988
First Book: Cussler's Iceberg, published by Dodd Mead
Best Bargain: Clive Cussler’s Mayday, London: Severn House. ISBN: 0-7278-0363-8. A gift from Cussler himself.
Rare Book He'd Like to Own: Cussler's The Mediterranean Caper aka “The Naked Dirk Pitt." edition. ISBN: 0-553-04981-X.
Highest Price Paid for a Book: $175, an uncorrected proof for Pacific Vortex by Cussler
Top 3 Books in Collection:
- Pacific Vortex by Clive Cussler, London: Piatkus. ISBN: 0-86188-423-X. Fine condition in dust jacket. Signed
- Mayday by Clive Cussler, London: Severn House. ISBN: 0-7278-0363-8. Fine condition in dust jacket. Signed.
- Iceberg by Clive Cussler, New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. ISBN: 0-396-07185-6. Fine condition in dust jacket. Signed.
In 1988 Clive Cussler gave me a fine copy of his first hardcover, Iceberg. On that day I began fulfilling the quest of collecting the works of Cussler which continues to this day. Since then, I’ve developed a relationship with Cussler who has presented me with many rare and one-of-a-kind items. Because of his generosity and cooperation, I was able to write and publish The Collector’s Guide to Clive Cussler in 2000. In it, I describe the passion for collecting Cussler as follows: "Collecting gives a person a connection to the books and to the author himself. It’s the closest many of us will come to knowing him. Just having the entire collection is a way to say to him and to anyone who sees them, that Clive Cussler is the writer they most enjoy, is most often reread, and these are the books that if stranded on a deserted island would be the ones they’d want with them.”
He is that rare author who has actually helped fans in making these items available and in doing so has given birth to a collectible market. For instance, Cussler has sent out literally thousands of original manuscript pages from his books to any fan who thought enough of his work to drop him a line. Even more astonishing is that - or a while - Cussler gave away signed copies of the highly collectible and valuable, original, Dodd Mead hardcover edition of Iceberg. After its modest sales, Cussler was able to obtain many “unsold” copies. These he kept in a cabinet in his home(s) for the purpose of sending always gratis to appreciative fans. These copies were usually signed and or inscribed and always in mint, unread condition. Cussler’s own dedication to and respect for his readers and fans accounts for his willingness to help collectors. My own experience of his generosity allows me to state that he has by such gifts greatly increased the stock of rare Cussler titles.
However, my main reason for collecting Cussler’s works is less tangible. I believe that, in most cases, Cussler collectors are, to some degree, already avid book collectors. Usually, Cussler books are at the top of their shelves; not because they are the best, which most of them are, but because it is their own small way of honoring a writer they greatly admire.
Except for those looking purely at the monetary aspect, I believe that’s why anyone, including myself, collects anything. People who originally collected Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century did so because they liked his work and admired the artist. It was their own special tribute to the (future) master. Years later Picasso’s work became priceless and his works were quickly scarfed up by people hoping to make a few bucks. Most of this later collecting wasn’t done out of honor and admiration but as an investment. My humble advice: Collect Cussler works out of love, not greed."
I’ve also founded the Clive Cussler Collector’s Society (www.cusslersociety.com) which produces limited prints of cover art, interior illustrations, newsletters and, since 2005, an annual convention in which Cussler and his co-writers attend. Membership is almost 500 worldwide with convention attendance averaging 125 to 150. Cussler arrives in one of his classic cars (which he incorporates in his books). In addition, the society published a comprehensive bibliography of his works. Last year I wrote and published The Adventure Writing of Clive Cussler. This year’s convention will be held in Denver, Colorado, with the inaugural Clive Cussler Adventure Writing Competition.