PAN Fans Club

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at www.tikit.net or www.panfans.club

PAN Fans Club - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at  www.tikit.net or www.panfans.club

Sam Peffer, Terrance Dicks and another ‘How Much!’

Last Monday, Jackie and I paid a visit to Sam Peffer’s relatives, Kathy and Pat, down in Oxfordshire  and I’ll leave Sam to tell you how they are all related in this extract below from his biography.

We were there for several hours constantly plied with tea and sandwiches which were much appreciated. We would have stayed longer but we were due to park up with the camper in a farmers field twenty miles away before 6:00. We are already planning the return visit as there was so much to look through. On leaving Kathy very kindly gave me a bag of negatives for photos that Sam took of mainly relatives but also some actors, posing for characters on covers. It will take a while to go through them all but I’ll put some up now and again if I can work out which was for what cover?
Here they are and the one you can see is very easily identified, can you name that cover?


I was going to mention Terrance Dicks who passed away at the end of August but I seemed to have missed this as I had already written the blogs knowing that I would be elsewhere. He wrote at least ten titles for the ‘The Baker Street Irregulars’ series but only three were published under the Piccolo imprint. He also co-wrote ‘The Making of Doctor Who’


Occasionally I look around at the silly prices that sellers are asking for ‘rare’ titles and in this case it was for a copy of ‘You Only Live Twice’ with the film tie-in dust jacket. Looks like I’m nearly two thousand pounds richer if that’s the going rate, mind you it has been there a while …….!

Hans Helweg, Oscar Marzaroli photos and ‘Book Month’

Last Monday I made a return visit to Sue, Hans Helweg’s widow, down in Hay-on-Wye which meant I could have another look around the bookshops whilst returning the material she lent me. Got a couple of Puffin editions of ‘Olga da Polga’ with cover artwork by Hans that are now on his page of children’s titles.
I was amazed to hear Sue had sold all the Hans originals that I had seen last month, envious, me! They went to a book dealer in Gloucestershire and I shall be keeping an eye on his website to see if they appear. Just as I was leaving Sue said she still had one cover that had been overlooked and would I like it? Well it would have been rude of me if I had said ‘No’


Last week I had an email from Jules Burt with a link to the BBC News website where Glasgow Caledonian University has been donated thousands of photos of Glasgow by Oscar Marzaroli. Jules thought there was one I might be interested in and it was of John Smith’s Book Shop, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, from 1962. Can you see what he saw?

I think there are nine PAN titles propped up and I have identified three easily My Wicked, Wicked Ways‘, ‘Zoo Quest for a Dragon‘ and ‘A Town Like Alice’ which was the 1000th title published by PAN. I am currently trying to identify the others. . The University is raising funds by auctioning off prints and this one had a guide price of £700 to £1,000. It sold for ……..


On the way back from Hay-on-Wye I stopped of at Berrington Hall to have a look at their secondhand books and the very friendly lady asked if I knew it was NT Book Month? I said that I didn’t and she replied that I could fill a carrier bag for a £1.00 but I said I didn’t have one. She then popped behind the counter and came up with a huge cardboard box and said fill this! Unfortunately, and I know this is hard to believe, I failed as a lot of the books were duplicates we had donated earlier in the year.

NT Properties, Steve Turner, Sheldon and a moan!

Now back from a very enjoyable and event packed few days in Kent with our son and daughter-in-law (and the little one on the way) but sorry to say there is no addition to the section ‘PAN as seen in a NT property’ Knole has 365 rooms but not even a secondhand book shop (it has a new books shop) whereas Quebec House with only 8 rooms at least had secondhand books in the cafe. 


I contacted Steve Turner recently to update him to confirm the PAN edition of ‘On The Road‘ was by Hans Helweg which he painted in May 1960 and for which he was paid £50.80. As I’ve mention before Steve is hoping to publish a book on Kerouac and the places he visited mentioned in the book. He kindly sent me another photo saying;
“Last year I met up with Al Hinkle who was fictionalised as Ed Dunkel in On the Road. He called himself ‘The Last Man Standing’ as he was the only person still living who was portrayed in the novel. Sadly he died a few months later. He asked me to sign a copy of my Kerouac biography Angelheaded Hipster for him and he in turned signed my Pan paperback of OTR”


I’ve also heard from Stuart Webb to say he has discovered another ‘Sheldon’ cover since he wrote his article just over a year ago He said:
“I found another Sheldon (Louis Shabner) Pan book cover at the weekend, which I didn’t know was one of his until I spotted the signature, whilst rummaging through a line of Pans in a bookshop. It is ‘Come Back Miranda’ by Anne Duffield (G486, 1961)”


Finally another moan about booksellers. (when am I not you ask?) which this time is about four titles in the PAN ‘An Introduction to 50 …. ”  series I bought to add to a page as they are examples of what I think should be really unappealing covers but I quite like them. They came with a tracking number which after 15 business days still said ‘Dispatched’ but that was all.  I contacted the seller who told me allow 10 business days from dispatch even though I had said it was already 15 days so I gave it another 5 before contacting again. They came back to say they had duplicate copies and would I like them resent or my money back? I had already checked they had multiple copies of them all, not being uncommon titles, and “Yes” I would like them resent. Now a week later I have just got an email to thank me for requesting a refund which they will now process! I’ll give it a couple of weeks and try again.

M6Toll Question, Proof Copy and Visits

Last week I posed the questions as to what might be the link between the M6Toll and PAN? Well the answer is Mills and Book, the publishers of romantic fiction founded in the UK in1908. They had an informal arrangement with Harlequin (Canada) up to 1971 when Harlequin bought Mills and Boon. Back in the 1950’s Harlequin jointly published 11 titles with PAN which can be seen HERE Note to self – yet another page where they all need to be scanned at a higher resolution..

One  example ‘The Four Just Men’  can be seen above on the back cover of this brief history which unfortunately, as I mentioned before, makes no reference as to why these 11 titles apart from listing them.

To finally answer the question the M6Toll surface contains over 92,00 pulp paperbacks per mile of which about 45,000 are Mills and Boon titles that were returned as unsold etc. Apparently it gives a springier surface, good job is was soft romance  and not hard core fiction! When we were visited by M6Toll staff recently who gave us money for our track clearing I asked if this was true and they said “Yes, 100%”


While sorting out bits and pieces on a shelf I came across an unopened package which turned out to be a 1975 proof copy of ‘Valley of Fear’ by Arthur Conan Doyle. I can’t remember where or when I got it which is most unusual as although I can’t remember things that happened yesterday, I can usually recall something about all my acquisitions. I’m not getting old am I?


Hopefully this blog will have launched itself as we are down in Kent staying with my son, his wife and the little one on the way. We have a list of National Trust properties to visit as most of them have second hand bookshops plus I haven’t added any thing to the ‘PAN Books as seen in NT properties’ for quite a while. Fingers crossed.
Next week I have a return visit planned to the home of a late artist. I’ve visited before but this time something has changed and I’ll say what if I am allowed later.
The week after that is a visit to a relative of a very famous, but unfortunately also late artist who’s name appears on literally hundreds of book covers.
I’ll post updates after the visits.


QUICK UPDATE Just spotted that Richard Booth died last Monday aged 80.
“Mr Booth’ King of Hay-on-Wye’  helped the border town become renowned for its book shops. The renowned Hay resident once owned the largest second-hand bookshop in Europe, and was crowned with an MBE. He was a determined entrepreneur who persevered in his quest to create a book town. Mr Booth even resorted to such stunts as his 1977 declaration of independence for Hay in which he proclaimed himself King and his horse was made Prime Minister” (Extract from local paper)

John Walsh, Derek Stowe and ‘A Painter’s Life’

Looking at later Steinbeck editions from around 1970 I find I have eight with similar style covers some of which are signed John Walsh. I am going to presume they are all by him but does anyone know if there are any others I’ve missed? Also if anyone has an information on this particular John Walsh I love to hear it as the two artists with that name I’ve found so far are not him.


A while ago I wrote about artist Derek Stowe who painted for PAN and also Panther and included all the Panther covers Derek could remember plus a few I found. So I was really pleased last week to spot a Panther cover with a very small but familiar signature which did turn out to be one of Derek’s, namely ‘The Unfair Sex’ by Nina Farewell from 1960. I managed to get a very nice copy which doesn’t appear to have been read. I haven’t been in contact with Derek for a little while so I have used this as an excuse to send him an email, fingers crossed for a reply. To see it you need to scroll to the bottom of his page.


It was just one of those times where you flick through Twitter and suddenly see something of interest and so it was with the cover of the latest album from Anthony Reynolds, ‘A Painters Life’ I emailed Anthony and he kindly sent me a signed postcard that goes with the album as a pastiche of a familiar style. Interestingly it has X236 on the cover which is of course …..?

Anthony came back with an offer for a copy of the LP too good to miss. Click HERE to see the album cover painted by David Roach. I was wondering if this was the same David Roach who painted for Marvel Comics and Anthony confirmed it was. I was hoping to have played it by now but unfortunately the needle on my music centre looks in need of some TLC and I don’t want to damage the vinyl. Maybe next week.


…and finally I’ll leave you with a question for which I’ll give the answer next week. Wearing my other hat I have on when clearing the disused railway track we were recently given £1,500 for a storage container by the company that runs the M6 Toll Road. What is the connection with the M6 Toll and PAN books? No prize, just a feeling of smugness if you get it.

Jules Burt’s videos, Pop-up books and this years NT book fair.

If you’ve not discovered them yet, it’s worth hunting out Jules Burt’s videos on ‘YouTube’ He is a fellow PAN collector whom I’ve know for a long time and who also collects many other publishers especially Penguin.
Here are links to some that have a PAN element including ones on The  Beatles, Agatha Christie,  James Bond and James Bond related titles. There are more, just go to YouTube and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss them.


Jules also has a video on ‘Star Wars’ pop-up books from Random House which made me look out any pop-ups from PAN and I found I have six under the Piccolo imprint. Two are in the larger format from 1981 and four small ones from 1983. They were made in Colombia like nearly all the pop-up books at the time, wondering if they still make as many today? Click HERE to see them.


Last week and this week is that time again when the National Trust holds its annual book fair at Baddesley Clinton. We try and get there on the first day, the Saturday, but due to commitments we didn’t make it until Monday but still managed to spend some money. Mostly duplicates but in better condition with the originals probably going back to a NT property with a book shop later in the year. Surprisingly my wife spent exactly three times as much as me which went someway to boosting the takings which were up to £3,5000 after only two days.

Hans Heinrich Helweg

Having mentioned prolific book cover artist Hans Helweg several times I am now pleased to be able to tell something of his life and to include as many examples of his art as I can.

I am currently working my way through a list and re-scanning the many PAN covers listed by Hans with date and how much he was paid plus it includes a few titles that aren’t PAN. So far I have managed to track down one as a Panther and one as an illustration in the magazine John Bull. Looking forward to finding more. I am also scanning the dozens of printer’s proofs that Sue lent me so I can get them back into her safe keeping as soon as possible.

Probably the character most associated with Hans ‘Olga Da Polga’

Click HERE to read what I have included so far, I especially like the story of his early film appearance. Don’t miss the links at the bottom to see many examples of Hans work in all fields.

Happy Birthday Emily, H.H. update, ‘Totem’ and a new business card!

Tomorrow, July 30th, will be Emily Bronte’s 201st Birthday. All though she wasn’t a prolific writer at least PAN published one of her novels in several editions. Click HERE or HERE to see them. Here is an appropriate joke from the latest ‘Private Eye’ magazine.


This week has been mainly taken up with re-scanning book covers by Hans Helweg. As he did over 250 this will be a long term project. I’ve put together a page from my notes when we met Hans’ widow Sue and sent the URL to her. She was very happy with it, just a couple of tweaks and confirmations on details needed. It’s now back with her and waiting approval to launch it upon the world.


I spotted the above poster for ‘The Totem’ someone had posted on a Twitter feed and of course couldn’t help but spot the PAN logo, looks like another item to add to the ‘Wanted’ list. The book cover is another from George Sharp who says it’s modelled on himself.


For a long time my cheap and cheerful business cards have said the site celebrates 25 years of PAN Books when now that has been extended to 45+ years plus a newer tag line. You know sometimes an offer comes through that seems just too good to miss? Well this was that time and I’ve now got 1,000 cards for not much more than the price of 100. Gone for the minimalist look but double sided and this time no advert for Vistaprint on the back!

Candy Barr plus a couple of updates.

It has been interesting researching Candy Barr as I don’t think the three titles published by PAN are by the same lady who crops up when you Google the name (see above). I had to tell the wife it was for research purposes – honestly! Then I found a Google snippet that speculated it was Caroline Bridgwood but again no definitive proof until I actually read the printing history inside the book where it says ©Caroline Bridgwood! Click HERE to see the three covers.


A while ago I put on several versions of the Colleen McCullough title ‘Tim’ but annoyingly one was a very bad image from the net. I have now got a copy to scan and have added it to the page. It the really boring one with just the word ‘Tim’ on a white background.


I have also got a couple of omnibus editions of ‘The Herries Chronicle  by Hugh Walpole in that uses the same photographs as the individual titles.

Hans Heinrich Helweg

As I mentioned last week I had a visit planned for the Monday and I’m pleased to say it came to fruition. We travelled down to Hay-on-Wye on the Sunday in the camper and parked up at a lovely site just five minutes walk from the centre of Hay. Although it was Sunday the majority of the bookshops were open (unlike places to eat!) I was prepared to be disappointed and so I was not disappointed when I was if that makes sense? Several shops I remembered had gone, a lot are selling remaindered stock and a few actually have vintage paperbacks. I was really pleased, in the Cinema Bookshop, to pick up five Mazo de la Roche titles that look as though they have never been read. They were £3 each which was about three times what I like to pay but as they were so good even my wife told me to go ahead and buy them.

Monday’s visit was to meet up with Sue, widow of artist Hans Helweg, at her fantastically located mill cottage. She was really welcoming and still has a lot of pieces relating to Hans kept in his studio the roof of which can just be seen behind the section with the wooden conservatory. There is a bridge over the brook and the foreground is in Wales and the cottage in England.

Sue was interested to see the two Mazo de la Roche covers that Hans had painted as she’d not see them before (‘Whiteoaks’ and ‘Finch’s Fortune’) We found ‘Whiteoaks’ in the ledger Hans kept and it looks like he got paid £42 for it.

She also had hundreds of printers proofs of covers which show that Hans painted over 250 for PAN many of which I didn’t know were his. She has also lent me notes on Hans life and I’ll put together a section for him including some of that material.

Finally, and not Hans related, but strangely linked I received a comment from Kathy, Sam Peffer’s neice who had just noticed back in 2014 I mentioned after a computer crash I had lost her contact details. We have now remade contact and I’ll be arranging a visit to see her very soon.