Stephen King “Six Stories”: A Buyer’s Guide

This comprehensive guide is for anyone looking to purchase the signed limited edition of Stephen King’s “Six Stories” and who also wants to learn more about the book.

This rare signed paperback is a short story collection published by Stephen King’s own Philtrum Press in 1997 and bound by The Stinehour Press in Vermont. As a book that is now over ten years old and one of the very few paperback signed King items, it is quite fragile and special attention must be paid to its condition. It is a valuable book and you want to make sure it’s in the best condition possible, as any minor damage will cause it be worth less than a copy in new condition.

In addition, as with any other expensive collectible, it is best to deal with a respected and reputable seller who will accurately represent the product and provide exceptional customer service along the way.

About Philtrum Press

Philtrum Press is a small publishing house run by Stephen King. Primarily the work of Stephen King’s personal assistant, Marsha DeFillipo (also The Official Stephen King Website Message Board Moderator), conducting small press operations from his front business offices in Bangor, Maine.

The Philtrum Press has published the following:

* 1982 The Plant part 1
* 1983 The Plant part 2
* 1984 The Eyes of the Dragon 1000 copies, Signed/Limited
* 1985 The Plant part 3
* 1987 “The Ideal Genuine Man” (written by Don Robertson)
* 1997 Six Stories 1100 copies, Signed/Limited
* 1999 “The New Lieutenant’s Rap” 500 copies (approx.), Signed/Limited

Production States

Six Stories was produced in several states, some being more rare than others. All states have been flat-signed by Stephen King.  The arabic numbered edition was the only version issued and sold for $80 as a signed limited paperback edition. This book was sold as a “first come first serve” basis directly from Philtrum Press

1,100  copies were produced as follows:

  • 900 copies – arabic numeral (numbered copies)
  • 200 copies – Roman numeral, originally reserved by the author.
  • 10 copies – PC , or “Publisher Copies”, marked “PC” with a felt-tip pen
  • 28 Proof copies, marked with a pencil.

Design and composition: Michael Alpert

Current Prices – For current pricing and trends, we recommend visiting the Stephen King collector, as they update the values every month to reflect market conditions.

Photos & Signature Pages


The Six Stories

The following six stories are printed in this book:

  1. Autopsy Room Four
  2. Blind Willie
  3. L.T.’s Theory of Pets
  4. Luckey Quarter
  5. Lunch At the Gotham Cafe
  6. The Man in the Black Suit


Autopsy Room Four

“Autopsy Room Four” is the first short story in the collection Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King. It was first published in the anthology Robert Bloch’s Psychos in 1997 and appeared in King’s anthology Six Stories the same year. It was adapted into a short film in 2003. It is also part of TNT’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King series in the summer of 2006.

The short story was adapted as an hour-long episode of the Turner Network Television mini-series Nightmares and Dreamscapes in 2006, along with “The Road Virus Heads North”. The music video of Incubus’s song, Anna Molly, has a similar plot line.

Blind Willie

Blind Willie is about a Vietnam veteran’s penance after the war. The main character in this story is Willie Shearman, and the story takes place over a single day in December 1983. At first we see him commuting from Connecticut to New York City like any normal businessman; we then discover that he elaborately disguises himself as a blind beggar who takes hundreds of dollars a day in donations from passersby, keeping the bills for himself and distributing the coins to various churches and charities. We also learn that he was in combat with John Sullivan, and saved his life; and that Willie keeps a scrapbook about Carol Gerber, and has never forgotten the day that she was beaten up by Harry Doolin while he and Richie O’Meara held her down.

L.T.’s Theory of Pets

L. T.’s Theory of Pets is a short horror story first released in Stephen King’s anthology Six Stories. It was later released again in another anthology, Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales. The story however, doesn’t feature supernatural or monstrous elements. Stephen King said his story is inspired by people who receive pets as gifts, and how that may be viewed as arrogance in certain circles by assuming the receiver can look after the pet. King himself briefly discusses how he received a Pembroke Welsh Corgi as a present, and has enjoyed its company ever since.

Luckey Quarter

Luckey Quarter is the fourteenth and final short story in the Stephen King collection Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales. It was first released in his anthology Six Stories in 1997. Darlene Pullen, who is a struggling single mother with two children (a rebellious teenage daughter and a sickly young son) and a lousy job as a maid, is left a tip of a single quarter with a note saying that it is a “luckey quarter”. She takes a quick gamble on it and finds that it brings her some small luck.

Lunch At the Gotham Cafe

A man named Steve Davis comes home one day to find a letter from his wife, Diane, coldly stating she has left him and intends to get a divorce. He becomes depressed, especially since Diane’s departure prompts him to give up cigarettes, and he begins to suffer nicotine withdrawal. Diane’s lawyer, William Humboldt, calls Steve with plans to meet with the two of them for lunch. He decides on the Gotham Cafe and sets a date. Steve’s lawyer is unable to attend due to a family crisis. This story was adapted for a short film in 2005 with Stephen King appearing in a small role as Steve’s attorney.

The Man in the Black Suit

“The Man in the Black Suit” is a short story by Stephen King. In 1995, it won the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction and the O. Henry Award. In 1997, it was published in King’s anthology Six Stories. In 2002, it was published in the collection Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales; in the latter text, King described the piece as an homage to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown”. He also states that the story evolved from one his friend told him, in which the friend’s grandfather had come face to face with Satan himself in the form of an ordinary man. It was adapted into a short film with the same title in 2004 by Nicholas Mariani.

Buy it with a case

If you are going to spend the money and acquire this collectible for your library, you may as well get one that has a case included. This will protect the book and make it more presentable in your library.  A case will also makes it more appealing to the next buyer later on if you decide to sell it.  Of course you can still buy it without a slipcase or a tray case but you will have to take extra care to protect it, given that it’s such a fragile paperback. Furthermore,  purchasing a case separately is very difficult because there are not that many available for sale individually.

There are currently two “after market” cases available: a slipcase and a tray case. I personally prefer the tray case because it encloses the book from all sides and is more attractive. The slipcase is still a very good option, but it leaves the spine of the book exposed.

Tray Case

Several photos of the after market tray case that is sometimes sold with Six Stories:


Slipcase

If you are not able to purchase it with a tray case, the slipcase is the next alternative.  It matches the book nicely with “SIX STORIES Stephen King” printed with gold lettering on one side while the other side is open, exposing the spine. Take a look at some photos of the slipcase:


Six Stories – Double Signed

Once in a while,  Stephen King will sign a signed limited edition.  Not only was it originally signed when the book was first published but also signed again by King at a later date.

What you see above is a special double-signed Roman Numeral Six Stories that we sold to a customer last year. At the time, this was the only one available on the internet.  The second signature is a personal inscription, dated in 1997. Signed as “Steve”, something that is very uncommon and highly desirable with collectors that are picky about these sorts of things.

As expected, a book like this which is double-signed will be worth a lot more than either of the Roman or Arabic numbered copies.

Condition

As stated earlier, this collectible is a paperback that is now over ten years old and extra attention should be paid to its condition. As with any other collectibles, condition of the item is very important that will affect the value.

So here are a few questions you should ask the seller, if they do not already provide this information. Overall, ask to make sure the book has no markings or writings (other than King’s signature). Also make sure it does not have any stamps or bookplates attached or signs of any removed.  In addition, the book should be free of  moisture damage. It should sit flat on a table top and the top cover should not arc upwards.  You may also want to ask if there are any minor flaws like chipping, bumping of the spine, or fading to the spine lettering. A copy with any of these problem should be offered at a reduced price.

Money Back Guarantee

As with any other valuable collectible item, make sure the seller has a strong money back guarantee policy in case you need to return it and get your money back. If you are buying on ebay, it is worthwhile to look at the seller’s feedback rating and history.

Buy it from Veryfinebooks

If are looking to add this rare book to your collection or buy it as a gift for someone else, please search here for current availability.

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