ELLSWORTH, Maine — Stephen King’s work in the horror genre has been called “chilling,” but a recent auction of one of the Bangor author’s rarest works will keep many Down East families warm this winter.
The book is a limited-edition 1996 hardcover copy of “The Regulators.” King wrote the book under a pseudonym, Richard Bachman.
The book was auctioned Friday to a Cambridge, Mass., attorney, for the high bid of $2,850, said Michael Riggs, the Hancock bookseller who managed the auction. Riggs was home Friday evening and said he didn’t have access to the woman’s name outside of his office.
Riggs said the attorney is originally from the Bradley area and wanted to help Mainers in need.
“I’m very comfortable with that price. I think it may be a little on the high side of what it’s worth, actually,” Riggs said Friday night. “But it’s all for the cause. The lady who bought it knows that, and she wanted to help the area out as much as to get something signed by Steve.”
The novel is one of only 500 editions of the book handcrafted by Minnesota book-binder Tim Clark and sold in a deluxe slipcase cover. King signed the book on Dec. 21 in an effort to boost the tome’s value at auction.
Another 52 deluxe editions — but not the one sold in Ellsworth — had a spent Winchester .30-caliber bullet embedded in the book’s cover.
Clark died in 2006, but before his demise, he left the book to a friend with Maine connections. That Mainer, who has chosen to remain anonymous, donated the book to the Emmaus Homeless Shelter in Ellsworth. The shelter opted to sell the book at auction, and to use 100 percent of the proceeds to buy home heating fuel for low-income families in Hancock County.
Other limited-edition copies of the book now available for sale online that were signed by King under the pen name have sold for between $1,450 and $2,000.
The auction was managed by Riggs, owner of Scottie’s Bookstore on U.S. Route 1 in Hancock. Riggs took care of the book during the auction and displayed it at his store for curious shoppers and potential bidders.
Clark’s widow told the Bangor Daily News in a recent interview that her husband would have loved to see his handiwork benefit the needy.
“This was something that he certainly would support,” said Ginny Clark in December. “Helping people less fortunate was always [his passion]. Whether he was out there helping them build something, or helping our domestic violence centers, he was just a pretty incredible human being. He cared about people.”
Sister Lucille MacDonald, who runs the Emmaus Homeless Shelter, said that each family who receives fuel assistance gets about $200 worth of fuel. So the proceeds from the auction could help as many as 14 families keep warm this winter.
MacDonald said Friday that the auction has also attracted attention from other charitable people, who have made another roughly $1,500 in donations for the fuel fund.
“Other people have seen this in the paper and seen the need, and we’ve received several other donations because of the people taking the initiative doing this. It’s been wonderful,” she said.
MacDonald said the shelter has already spent roughly $5,000 this winter on fuel assistance, and is planning to spend even more as temperatures continue to hover around zero degrees.
“People are having to make very delicate choices about whether to put fuel in their homes or eat or get medicine,” she said. “It’s very tough on people. So we’re very grateful.”
MacDonald can be reached at 667-3962.
BDN reporter Abigail Curtis contributed to this report. Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.