I have been reading and collecting Stephen King books since 1983 and the one book that has eluded me and many other collectors is “The New Lieutenant’s Rap”. This prized pamphlet has an interesting history and an unknown future.
Philtrum Press is a small publishing house run by Stephen King which has printed the following works:
- The Plant, Part 1 (1982)
- The Plant, Part 2 (1983)
- The Eyes of the Dragon – 1000 copies, Signed/Limited (1984)
- The Plant, Part 3 (1985)
- The Ideal Genuine Man (written by Don Robertson) (1987)
- Six Stories – 1100 copies, Signed/Limited (1997)
- The New Lieutenant’s Rap – 500 copies (approx.), Signed/Limited (1999)
The New Lieutenant’s Rap was produced for a dinner celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Carrie on April 6, 1999 at the Tavern on the Green in New York.
The chapbook (a pocket sized booklet) has a stitched cover with a total of 22 pages. The text replicates King’s handwriting, including the cover page and copyright info. The New Lieutenant’s Rap was later published in King’s collection, Hearts in Atlantis, but that version is substantially shorter.
150 signed copies were brought to the event and 108 randomly numbered copies were distributed.
All the books were inserted into envelopes covered with silver peace symbols hand stamped on them. Some had 3, 4 or 5 as they were placed arbitrarily.
Also dispersed at the dinner were:
- A signed copy of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (in honor of the 25th anniversary of Carrie )
- A silver Peace Sign pendant with a silver necklace in a box with bow on top
- A stapled 4 page 25 question trivia quiz.
Approximately 28-42 copies of the The New Lieutenant’s Rap chapbook were left on the tables by forgetful guests and thrown out that night.
None were recovered from the trash. Rumor has it that King was so disappointed that some guests did this, that he took the remaining 380+ copies and placed them in his office safe in Bangor, Maine where they remain to this day.
There was an unsuccessful break-in attempt at King’s office in June 2000 but the chapbooks remained untouched. There have been approximately 5 copies donated to Bangor public library since then.
Therefore, only 80 copies were taken home from the event and 5 more have been purchased since then from the fundraisers. Of the 500, that is a very small number of copies in private hands.
Who knows what the author plans to do with the remaining copies. Perhaps they will remain locked away forever like something from a Stephen King story?