Because those are the first four issues of The Baker Street Journal, Vo1. 1, numbers 1-4, from 1946.
And because I also own the next four, Vol. 2, numbers 1-14, from 1947. And, incredibly, because they were all presents from a man I've never met.
As I've written before, Nuno Robles of Lisbon, Portugal, is a great fan of my books, especially the McCabe-Cody series. He recently sent me a package of the eight historic Journals as a gift of long-distance friendship. Sherlockian collectors are well known for their generous, sharing sprit - but that was over top!
"Since I don't write, Nuno write, "this is what I wanted: to give you as much pleasure (or almost as much) as I get from your books, from your stories and from the beautiful characters you've created. This was a way to thank you for the wonderful times I had reading your books, Dan."
Nuno bought a lot of Sherlockian books and magazines from Robert Hess and Vincent "Vinnie" Brosnan, BSI, starting in the late 1980s. And now he has shared some of them with me. "Those early Shelockian writings are fascinating, in my opinion," he wrote, "and I love the story of the early Baker Street Journal and Baker Street Irregulars."
The inaugural issue being with the familiar "The Editor's Gas Lamp," written by the legendary first editor of the Journal, Edgar W. Smith. Volume 1, Number 1 is filled with other familiar names as well: Vincent Starrett, Christopher Morley, S.C. Roberts, Jay Finley Christ, Anthony Boucher, Lee Wright, Belden Wigglesworth and Bliss Austin, Helene Yuhasova - it's a bonanza!
Sooner rather than later, I intend to buy the incredible e-BSJ, which puts every issue of the BSJ from 1946 through 2011 on one searchable DVD. That will be an incredible research tool. But it won't be the same wonderful experience as paging through the fragile pages of 69-year-old print editions.
Usually I devour my copies of The Journal as they arrive each quarter. (I expect the latest any day now.) But these early issues I intend to savor a few articles at a time. And each time I will be thinking gratefully of my friend and fan Nuno in Lisbon.