Famed horror novelist Stephen King has published over 50 books, which means there's a lot of King memorabilia out there for fans to collect. But the trove of manuscripts and first edition novels produced by the author got a little smaller on January 16. As Bangor Daily News reports, about 2000 rare Stephen King works were destroyed by a water main break in Bangor, Maine.
The ruined collection belonged to Gerald Winters, owner of Gerald Winters & Son Rare Books. He’d spent the past two decades traveling the world acquiring signed books, galleys, manuscripts, and rare prints from King’s body of work. Even though Winters makes a living selling rare books, he held onto the valuable King collectibles for a more noble purpose: opening a museum dedicated to the writer's works for more fans to enjoy.
A year ago, Winters moved from his home in Thailand to King’s hometown of Bangor, Maine to realize that dream. Now, following a water main break outside his business that filled his basement with a few feet of water, that dream looks a lot less likely. The writings, which Winters normally stored upstairs, had been moved to the basement so he could reorganize his shop. He estimates that only 10 percent of his original inventory remains.
Among the works that were lost were manuscripts of “Dolan’s Cadillac,” Maximum Overdrive, and The Eyes of the Dragon typed by King himself. Winters had also collected signed books from the authors J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and George R.R. Martin.
“You can’t replace this stuff,” he told Bangor Daily News.
After hearing about the tragedy, Stephen King told Bangor Daily News that he felt horrified. “As a book lover, my heart goes out to him,” he said. He plans to contact Winters and offer what help he can.
[h/t Bangor Daily News]