The Greater Key of Solomon; Including a Clear and Precise Exposition of King Solomon's Secret Procedure, its Mysteries and Magic Rites. Original Plates, Charms and Talismans. Translated from Ancient Manuscripts in the British Museum, London

Chicago, IL: The de Laurence Company / deLaurence, ND [circa 1950s ?]. Reprint. Hardcover. Quarto. xvi + 130pp. Brown patterned cloth with gilt title on front cover. Frontis photo of L. W. de Laurence, red page edges, b/w illustrations & full page plates. In an unusual extravagance, the frontispiece and title page are printed on a coated paper (to give better quality of reproduction of the images), whereas the rest of the book is on standard paper stock. The original editor, S. L. MacGregor Mathers was of course one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the fraternity in which Aleister Crowley got his early magical training, and which had such a profound influence on his own occult career. This is an unauthorised edition produced by the redoutable Lauron William de Laurence (1868 - 1936), renowned book pirate, plagiarist, and publisher of occult literature. De Laurence was well known for taking other peoples' works and reissuing them under his own name (sometimes retitling them in the process) although in this case he has simply claimed editorship, having rearranged the order of the plates, and added an explanatory "notice to the reader" why. In addition de Laurence couldn't resist claiming credit for the Preface, which is, to all practical purposes, that of Mathers, although de Laurence has changed a few words here and there to make it relevant to this edition and of course inserted his own name at the end. Despite his eccentricities de Laurence played an important part in the occult history of the USA: he was was a pioneer in selling occult books and supplies by mail order, and the cheap "Pow Wow" books and other books of simple magic which he published were received with great fervor by many in the American occult community. This volume has the copyright date 1914 on the verso of the title page, and the typography of the time, but to judge from the binding it is almost certainly a later reprint, probably dating from the mid-1960s or the decade therafter. Boards a bit darkened, light rubbing to spine ends and corners, Wehman Bros. distributor's stamp on lower title page (as common), endpapers unevenly browned and a bit foxed, pages lightly toned but clean and unmarked. Still overall a VG+ copy. Scarce in this edition (no dust jacket issued). Item #69546

Price: $150.00