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“we are getting some cards” [SHOS]

Regardless of how one celebrates Christmas, it undoubtedly includes some type of tradition. One of the traditions that we enjoy is sending and receiving Christmas cards to and from fellow Sherlockians.

One of those is a Jerry Margolin, BSI (“Hilton Cubitt”), who made an appearance in the first Collectors’ Corner on Episode 16 of the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast. If you listened, you may recall that Jerry is the leading art collector in the Sherlockians world, and he delights in sharing his collection with others. [If you haven’t listened yet, now is a great time.] But an audio show can only do so much to bring the wonders of an art collection to you, so we’ve got something else.

As his collection began to grow some 40 years ago, Jerry started his own tradition by taking his artwork and turning it into cards for the holiday. We’re fortunate to have been on his “nice” list for a number of years, and we decided to ask Jerry about the story behind the cards - and to share the cards to date with you.

I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere: When did you first start this tradition? What made you decide to do it?

JM: As to the question about how this card madness got started, it really was quite innocent. I moved to Oregon in 1976, and had been to two BSI dinners, while still living in NY. I had met a few Sherlockians at the dinner, but I was 20 something and new to it all, having only started collecting a couple of years before.

I had started corresponding with some people such as John Bennett Shaw, also, a new friend, Andrew Peck and some others when it finally arrived at the holiday season. I received a couple of greeting cards with a Sherlockian theme and thought that was really fun. Fortunately for me, my upstairs neighbor was a graphic artist, so I asked her if she would do a quick drawing of Holmes to use as a card illustration? She did and then I had to find a printer to make the cards. I had printed up way too many at the time, maybe 80? I was optimistic about all the people I would meet and get to know in the Sherlockian world, what did I know at the time?

In any case, I got addresses for as many people as I could and hand wrote out each card and happily mailed them off. Amazingly, I started to get many responses and found that others were doing this also and I accumulated quite a stack of incoming cards. This encouraged me to do another for the next year and so on. I had no idea that it would take on a life of its own and become so looked forward to by so many people in the coming years. I started dating the cards in 1980.

IHOSE: How many cards do you send out? Has that list grown over time?

JM: Well, as I stated in the first answer, I just threw out a number to the printer and the card had no limitation printed on it, not even a date. So the next year having received a goodly number of cards, I decided on 50 and figured I would have leftovers to send if I got a card from someone I didn’t really know. As the years went on and I became better known in the Sherlockian world, I began to correspond with more Sherlockians around the U.S. and the world. I developed a list of “regulars” and brought the list to a firm 65.

From time to time over the years, the list has grown and shrunk sometimes unfortunately to the loss of friends who passed beyond the Reichenbach. As time went on I added a few here or there and occasionally people heard about the cards. Some asked if they could be added. I do about 56 cards now, but always have a few extra just in case. I do put the limitation on the card.

IHOSE: You have over 2,500 pieces of Sherlockian art in your collection. How do you go about deciding which to select for a card each year?

JM: Whenever I get a new piece of art, I look at it to determine if it might make a good card and be a piece that will interest the people who receive them. There is no real rhyme or reason to it. I wish I could say I use some form of Sherlockian deductive reasoning to make my choices, but no, I just decide on the fly. In iPhoto, on my computer, I do have about 15 pieces set up to be used for the next many years and have already picked the card for next year; no I won’t tell you which one.

I am always thrilled by the responses I get when the cards begin to arrive at their destinations. A lot of people have been kind enough to write me and tell me what they like about the art and how fun it is to receive it. It makes it worthwhile. As I said earlier, it has taken on a life of its own and the cards seem to be much sought after which thrills me to no end. I always send them out the day after Thanksgiving, and they have now come to signal the beginning of the Sherlockian season. One or two people over the years have tried to beat me to being the first card, though I don’t think anyone ever has, though I guess I shouldn’t say that. Someone will send one out after the 4th of July.

IHOSE: Of the cards you've sent out, which are your personal favorites? Why?

JM: Wow, that is a tough question, I love my art collection and I do have favorites that are obvious such as the Paget and Steele originals, also the original from Jimmy Stewart, Gahan Wilson and John Romita Sr. who drew Spiderman, for me, as Holmes. Those would be in my top certainly.


One of my all time favorites was the Will Elder (MAD Magazine artist) who was a close friend for almost 40 years. It was Holmes and Watson running down a railroad track saying “At last Watson, we’re on the right track!!“ It is a favorite because it was the only year in which I issued a very limited (about 12) extra cards that inside contained a color piece of art by Will of his character “Little Annie Fannie” wearing nothing but a deerstalker! I kept one and sent the rest to a very select group of people. I got some interesting responses to it, some not so great, but most enjoyed it.

Lastly, the Paget and Steele art since they are the crown jewels of the collection and pieces; to this day, I am always stunned that I own them. They were not in my thought process way back when that they would ever grace my walls. I am glad I could share them with my friends in the Sherlockian world.

The Cards

The following is a complete set of Sherlockian holiday cards from Jerry Margolin. Jerry has provided a description for each one in his own words. If some of the images are out of focus, it's because some are not scans but rather photos taken of the artwork as it hangs on the wall.

Holmes by fireplace by Judy Aiello. No date, but issued 1977 with no limitation. Drawn for me. My first card.

Paul Nizza Sherlock Holmes
 Illustration published in “The Adventure Of the 5 Puce Map tacks” by Paul Nizza (real name Justin Sutherland). Obtained from the author after being told that he never sells his art, but since he had given a piece to a friend, would sell me one piece. No date printed, but limitation of 50.

Jerry Margolin with Sherlock Holmes, as drawn by Carl Bennett
“Holmes & Margolin” by Carl Bennett. Carl is a longtime friend and a graphic artist now living in Seattle. My wife, Judy (St. Judy!) has this drawn for me by Carl as a birthday gift in 1978. It is all done in Pointillism style. Limited to 60.  No date printed.

Gahan Wilson - Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson for Jerry Margolin
Holmes and Watson with Holmes examining a present drawn for me by my longtime friend Gahan Wilson. There is no stated date and no limitation, but probably about 60 cards were sent in 1979. This was the first of about 20 originals obtained from Gahan in the 40 years I have known him.
Norm Schatell EMPT

Cartoon by the Sherlockian Norman Schatell, BSI ("Johnathan Small"). Published from a series of greeting cards created by Schatell. The caption is “Watson, will you look at that idiot Mrs. Hudson?” Holmes and Watson looking at Mrs. Hudson dusting the bust of Holmes as Col. Moran looks to shoot it. Dated 1980. Limited to 60.

Sherlock Holmes reads The Maltese Falcon
Holmes looking at an eagle while reading the “Maltese Falcon” by artist Hank Hinton. Dated 1981. Limit of 60. A published newspaper cartoon.

Happy birthday, Sherlock Holmes by Jim Hummel
Published newspaper cartoon by Jim Hummel. Artist inscribed it to me. Holmes with a birthday cake sipping wine and reading newspaper. Hummel sent this to me as a gift. Dated 1982. Limit of 60.

Original Bugs Bunny Sherlock Holmes comic
Original Bugs Bunny comic page from Looney Tunes comic #63 Jan. 1947. Dated 1983. Limit of 60.

Bullwinkle as Sherlock Holmes by Bill Hurtz
“Rocky and Bullwinkle” drawn for me by Bill Hurtz one of the original animators and director of the “Rocky & Bullwinkle” show. It was obtained for me by a friend who was a comic art agent for many artists and illustrators. Dated 1984. Limit of 60 cards.

Frederic Dorr Steele - "Thor Bridge" for Limited Editions Club set
Frederic Dorr Steele. Holmes and J. Neil Gibson, the Gold King. Drawn by Steele for the Limited Editions Club set 1944 from the story “The Problem of the Thor Bridge”. This was the first of five Steele originals I owned at one time. It was obtained from a great rare bookseller. Dated 1985. Limit of 60.

Batman and Joker by Luke McDonnel for Jerry Margolin
Batman and the Joker drawn for me at a comic convention by DC Comics artist Luke McDonnel. This card was dedicated to a friend and Sherlockian Michael Murphy, BSI ("The Noble Bachelor") upon his passing that year. Dated 1986. No limitation, but probably 60.

Henry Lauritzen's three-pipe problem
Holmes with 3 pipes. Drawn for me by the great Henry Lauritzen, BSI ("The Royal Family of Scandinavia") who was a longtime friend. Inscribed to me by the artist. Dated 1987. Limit of 65.

Spiderman Sherlock Holmes
"Spiderman.” Artist is John Romita, Sr., one of the creators of Spiderman. This card has several significant points to it. It was my first color card and in those days before iPhoto, I had 65 photo prints made and hand glued each to the face of the card. It was also used as a dedication to two of the greatest Sherlockians, J. Bliss Austin, BSI ("The Engineer's Thumb") and Marvin Epstein, BSI ("Count Negretto Sylvius") upon their passing. Dated 1988. Limit of 65 cards.

Holmes and Watson by Will Elder
“At Last Watson, We’re On the Right Track!” Drawn for me by MAD artist and close friend of 40 plus years Will Elder. Again, done in color as a photo print pasted down to card by hand. Will drew it for me in 1977. Card sent in 1989. Limited to 70.

NSFW version of Little Annie Fannie
I also issued a separate very limited edition of this card which contained another Elder drawing of “Little Annie Fannie” wearing only a deerstalker hat! Limitation says 15 cards, but I tend to think it was only 12. Most enjoyed the little surprise extra card, but a few did not. Only those who received this card would own a complete set of my cards. [Editor's note: for the original NSFW version, click the image above or here.]

Jean-Pierre Cagnat's mysterious Holmes
Illustration of a very mysterious looking Holmes drawn for me by noted French artist, illustrator and Sherlockian, J.P. Cagnat, BSI ("The Bank of France"). This year, I used this card as a dedication to Julian Wolff, BSI ("The Red-Headed League") upon his passing. Dated 1990 and limited to 70 cards.

Luther Norris draws Sherlock Holmes
This card was published as the frontispiece to “The Problem of the Purple Maculas” published by Luther Norris. It was a gift from Luther to me. Henry Lauritzen drew it in 1964. I used this card as a dedication to Henry on the occasion of his passing. Dated 1991. Limited to 70 cards.

Original Steel of The Musgrave Ritual
Frederic Dorr Steele drew this as a finished preliminary drawing for “The Musgrave Ritual” in the Limited Editions Club set. There are noted, a few differences between this and the final published piece owned by another great collector and Sherlockian. Steele added and changed a few things before publication. Dated 1992 in a limitation of 75.

MAD's Jack Davis draws Sherlock Holmes
Holmes in a trench coat rather than Inverness. Drawn for me by MAD artist Jack Davis in 1980. Dated 1993. Limited to 75.

Archie Holmes and Jughead Watson
Archie and Jughead as Holmes & Watson drawn for me by Stan G. This was an experiment in changing the way I did my cards. I tried it as a postcard style instead of the usual folded card. In my opinion it did not work as well and I never did it again. I used this card as a dedication to a wonderful Sherlockian, Jim Duval, BSI ("The Battered Tin Dispatch-Box") on his passing. Dated 1994 and limited to 75 cards.

Holmes and the 11 Cuff-Buttons
This piece was published as the dustjacket art to “The Adventure Of the 11 Cuff-Buttons” printed by the Aspen Press. The artist is unknown to me. I acquired it from the owners of the Press. This was a special card for me as it was dedicated to Norman Nolan, BSI ("Godfrey Norton"), who was one of the great collectors of not only Sherlockiana and mystery and detective fiction, but more importantly, my mentor in all things Sherlockian. He taught me about collecting and took me to my first BSI dinner in 1974. I will always be eternally grateful to him for all he did to foster my interest in Holmes and collecting. Dated 1995 and limited to 75.

Old Sherlock Holmes by Barry Nichols
This piece was published in The Statesman Journal, a Salem, Oregon newspaper. The artist is Barry Nichols. I wrote to Barry and asked him for it. He kindly said yes and it landed in the collection. It not only shows Holmes as an elderly gentleman with “Toby”(?), but there is a smaller portrait of the same man as a young Holmes with dog on the wall behind him. Dated 1996, limited to 75 cards.

Jimmy Stewart's Harvey in a deerstalker
This 1997 card is a true highlight of my art collection. It is Harvey the Rabbit, though usually invisible, seen here wearing a deerstalker hat and drawn for me by the great, one and only Jimmy Stewart. I wrote to Mr. Stewart after obtaining his home address and asked for a drawing of “Harvey in a Sherlock hat”. About a week later this arrived. Unfortunately Mr. Stewart passed not too long after I received it. I never fail to smile when I see it on my wall as do those who have seen it in person. Dated 1997, limited to 75 cards.

Chublock Hooms by Bang
This piece was drawn in the 1955 for a British comic “Slick Fun Album” it was the cover art by “Bang” ( H. W. Banger). The character is “Chublock Hooms.” I used this card as a dedication to both Tom Stix, Jr., BSI ("The Norwood Builder") and Eileen Hartsoe Katz upon their passing. Dated 1998. Limit of 75 cards.

Frederic Cooper - Basil Rathbone
"Rathbone" by Frederic Cooper was a published piece, but where it was published escapes me. This was my last card for the 20th century. As I stated, Rathbone was always my least favorite Holmes, but he was one of the most famous, if not the most famous portrayer of Holmes and I thought it was fitting to end the century with his portrayal. 1999 limited to 75 cards.

Cushing and Morrell as Holmes and Watson - Prepolec
Starting the new century, I chose my favorite Holmes, Peter Cushing, as drawn by a great friend and amazing artist from Canada, Charles Prepolec. I badgered him into parting with a piece of his art and have acquired a few more over the years. I am not sure what this was done for, but I think it was a published piece. Dated 2000. Limited to 75 cards.

Edgar Allan Poe - Sherlock Holmes - Jeff Decker
Edgar Allan Poe by the great Sherlockian artist, Jeff Decker, BSI ("Dr. Grimesby Roylott"). This combines things I love: Poe, Holmes and spooky skull things. Jeff is a master at his craft and I am pleased that I own several of his fine works. Dated 2001 and limited to 75 cards.

Jeff Decker - Baker St. Miscellanea cover Holmes Moriarty
Published as the cover of the Winter 1988 issue of The Baker Street Miscellanea by Jeff Decker. This card marked the first and — so far the only time I have used the same artist two years in a row. I can never get enough of his work. Dated 2002 and limited to 75 cards.

Sherlock Holmes by Edgar W. Smith
Sherlock Holmes by Edgar W. Smith, BSI ("The Hound of the Baskervilles"). I don’t think I have to explain much about the art or the artist for this one. I assume since there is no date and that Edgar passed away in 1960, that it was drawn in the 1950s. There is a matching Moriarty, but another Sherlockian who will not part with it as of the last time I asked owns it. Limited to 65 cards and undated though it would have been 2003.

Sherlock Holmes by Alan Weiss
Sherlock Holmes by Alan Weiss, known for his drawings of Tarzan for DC Comics. This card might qualify as one of the two saddest cards for me to have used as a dedication to a passed Sherlockian. This card was used to say my personal goodbye to Richard Lancelyn Green, BSI ("The Three Gables"). Dated 2004 and limited to 65 cards.

Roger Witter - Watson and Holmes
Holmes and Watson by Roger Witter. This has to be one of my favorite stories of how I acquired a piece of art. When my wife first started teaching in Oregon in 1977, she happened to mention to her middle school students of her husband’s crazy obsession with Holmes. Roger was her student and a budding artist, took it upon himself to do a very large pen and ink piece. It is a strange and wonderful depiction of Holmes and Watson, but a great favorite in the collection. We tried a few years ago to find him to no avail. I hope he continued with his art. Dated 2005 and limited to 60 cards.

Will Eisner - Sherlock Holmes and the Spirit
The Spirit and Holmes by Will Eisner. Eisner is one of the greatest comic illustrators ever. This is the only time Eisner drew Holmes and the only time the two characters ever appeared together. Having his work in my collection was a dream come true and I won it on eBay at about 2:00 in the morning. I bid more money than I ever have, but got it for much less than I thought. Eisner drew it for the 1987 UK Comic Art Convention program where he was the guest of honor. As to getting a matching program, it took me almost two more years to find one by calling and emailing people in England who had been associated with the convention. One guy finally said, “I have a stack of them in my attic, how many do you want?” I took two! Dated 2006 limited to 60 cards.

"What, me deduce?" - Alfred E. Neuman as Sherlock Holmes
Alfred E. Neuman as Sherlock Holmes. Is there anyone who does not know Alfred E. Neuman? I grew up with MAD Magazine and Ray Alma is the artist for MAD now responsible for drawing him for the magazine. If you see and observe, you might note the bubbles coming out of the pipe instead of smoke. Dated 2007, limited to 60 cards.

Hawkshaw by Watso
Hawkshaw the Detective by “Watso” ( Gus Mager). This is an interesting card for two reasons. First, this is the first card in my series that I did on my computer through iPhoto. It came out far better than I ever imagined. Secondly, this art and another like this that I own are close to my heart. Both pieces by Mager were done for fans in the 1937 when they wrote request letters for a piece of art. Fast-forward to the beginnings of my collecting career and that is exactly what I used to do before the age of email. This proves there is nothing new under the sun. Dated 2007 and limited to 60 cards.

Holmes uses a reducing glass by Will Elder
Will Elder dedication card upon his passing. Holmes using a reducing glass to make Watson smaller. This was the humor of my longtime friend and great artist, Will Elder of MAD Magazine fame. He was a friend for over 40 years and I used to spend the day at his home for many years when in New York City for the Baker Street Irregulars Weekend. He very kindly drew this for me. Dated 2008 and limited to 60 cards.

Gahan Wilson draws Jerry Margolin and Sherlock Holmes
 “Me and Holmes in Baker Street” by Gahan Wilson. Gahan has been a great friend for over 40 years and he has always been kind enough to give me mostly first crack at any Holmes cartoons he has done. I now own 21 original Holmes pieces plus a few non-Holmes that he did for me as holiday cards. This piece is very special to me as he was kind enough to do a commission piece of me, Holmes and the Hound with the quote “Amazing, Margolin, how your tender care has gentled the Hound of the Baskervilles!” It is a magnificent full color piece and sits proudly on my wall. When I asked Gahan why he gave me the full beard since I only have a goatee, he said “I thought you could use the extra!” Dated 2009 and limited to 60 cards.

Batman and Sherlock Holmes - Moldoff
Holmes and Batman by Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff. Mr. Moldoff worked for D.C. Comics in the 1940s and '50s and was responsible for drawing Batman. He drew this for me happily using the vision of Batman that I grew up with in my comic buying youth. Dated 2010, limited to 60 cards.

Steele Christmas Letter to Starrett
Frederic Dorr Steele letter to Vincent Starrett, BSI ("A Study in Scarlet") at Christmas. This was the one time I sent out a card with no Sherlockian illustration. It contained a drawing by Steele of Santa at the top. Holmes is mentioned twice in the content of the letter. I acquired this from Diane Nolan, wife of the late great Sherlockian and my mentor in the BSI, Norman Nolan. Dated 2011 and limited to 60 copies.

Peter Cushing caricature
Peter Cushing as Holmes by David O’Keefe. David is well know for his caricatures of sports figures and celebrities. He very kindly did this commission for me and turned out better than I had imagined. Dated 2012 and limited to 60 cards.

Holmes and Dracula by Gene Colon and Jim Tournas
Holmes and Dracula by Gene Colon and inked by Jim Tournas. This was acquired through the artist, Gene Colon. I am not sure where it had been published. It was drawn in the 2000s but there is no exact date listed. I also acquired from the inker Jim Tournas, a larger pencil version of this same art. It combines two favorites, Holmes and Dracula. Dated 2013. Limited to 60 cards.

Original Sidney Paget for "The Resident Patient"
"Holmes opened it and smelled the single cigar which it contained." - Sherlock Holmes from “The Resident Patient” by Sidney Paget. This art is the crown jewel of my art collection. It took me 22 years to finally own this art and I have had it now for almost 30 years. It is any Sherlockian’s dream come true to own an original Holmes by Paget. To this day, I can truthfully say that whenever I go into my library/gallery room, I get a thrill every time I see it there. I have been pleased to share it with any visiting Sherlockian that arrives at my home. Finally, I thought this image was fitting to use for my dedication to my longtime friend, Jerry Wachs, BSI ("Sir James Saunders") upon his passing. He was a great friend and a gentle soul. Dated 2014. Limited to 60 cards.

Berkeley paperback cover of Holmes and Watson by Guy Deel
Finally, this brings us to the newest card drawn I think in the 1980s for the cover of Berkeley paperback editions of the Canon by Guy Deel. Deel was famous for his Western cowboy and Indian paintings. He also did most all the covers of the Canon for paperback editions. This is one of my favorites in my collection of Deel paintings and drawings. I also have the preliminary blue pencil drawing for this scene. Dated 2015. Limited to 60 cards.

We’ve always thoroughly enjoyed receiving Jerry’s cards, and we always anticipate the early arrival of them. We’ll be looking forward to next year’s card with continued excitement!