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Walter A. Coslet

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Walter A. Coslet

Walter Allen Coslet (born in Lewistown, Montana on October 31, 1922, died in Helena, Montana on November 29, 1996) was a well known science fiction fan, collector, and fanzine publisher as well as a charter member of the International Society of Bible Collectors, writing many articles for the society's publications. He served the National Fantasy Fan Federation as both a Vice-President (1947) and President (1955).

Coslet was the only child of Arthur Allen Coslet and Bessie Fodushia Pickett; at age four his right arm was injured and a bone had to be removed because it failed to heal. The family moved to Sunnyside, Washington when he entered 2nd grade, to avoid having to have him vaccinated, but returned to Denton, Montana after Washington also passed mandatory vaccination laws for school aged children. His interest in science fiction began in his early teens and he began collecting in 1937. When his mother objected to his reading science fiction he began reading it in the barn. He graduated from high school in Denton in 1941. The childhood injury to his right arm kept him out of military service in World War II.

Coslet attended Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada for one year . Among his early jobs he worked as a truck driver on a ranch and spent a few weeks as a shepherd.

After taking the State Merit Test he moved to Helena, Montana for his first real job as a clerk in the Department of Labor in 1944. He stayed with this job for 42 years moving up to examiner, determining people's eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Coslet's parents moved from Denton to Helena and took up residence at the Grandon Hotel where Walter already lived. In 1945 He and his mother purchased a house.

Coslet's hobby interests grew, including stamp collecting. From being a member of Linn's Weekly Stamp News stamp collector's stamp exchange he met Dorothy Gawne from Amherst, Ohio. The two traded stamps and corresponded for 2 years before actually meeting in person. By this time Gawne was attending L. I. F. E. Bible College in Los Angeles, California. Coslet and his father came to Los Angeles to visit. The next summer Gawne visited Coslet's home in Helena. One year later, after she finished her studies graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Theology degree, Gawne and Coslet were married on August 12, 1947 in Helena. The new family began taking in foster children in 1950, eventually having cared for four. In 1957 the first of their three sons was born.

Coslet became well known for his vast knowledge of both science fiction and the Bible. Although he sold his science fiction collection, spanning thirty-five years, in 1972 to a collector in Portland, Oregon (the fanzine collection is now in the Albin O. Kuhn Library at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County), he continued to accumulate science fiction books and magazines until his death. He had one of the largest private collections of English translations of the Bible in the world.

The 23 oldest and most valuable items in his Bible collection were auctioned by Bonhams & Butterfields on October 17, 2006 [1]. Coslet's copy of the Golden Legend was auctioned on December 4, 2006 [2].

External links

  • Popular Culture Collections – The Walter Coslet collection of amateur science fiction magazines (fanzines)
  • History of the International Society Of Bible Collectors
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