The University of Iowa will be receiving a large collection of one-of-a-kind books, including many science fiction novels thanks to an avid collector from Sioux Falls, SD.

73-year-old Allen Lewis spent the last 20 years collecting more than 17,000 books. Many of them are in the science fiction and fantasy realm as Lewis sought to rekindle his childhood love for those genres.

Lewis has been a sci-fi fan since he was 12, telling KDLT News, “Fantasy and science fiction writers explore certain problems or areas within our society today and then expand them and put them in another location.’

Many of Lewis’ books are first editions and first printings. His collection includes 30,000 signatures from authors, editors and artists.

Lewis attended many conventions to get autographs. During times when he couldn’t go, he would send his wife or granddaughter. “It’s pretty hard to turn a pretty cute 12-year-old girl down when she brings you a book to be signed.”

Lewis chose the University of Iowa to help expand their already impressive collection of first editions. “The University of Iowa, which is getting this collection, has a big collection of the early 1900’s and even the late 1800’s and has very little modern so I fit right in where they want to go.”

Lewis even offered to box and ship his collection himself. He does plan on visiting the University to see how they handle his prized possessions.

“I’m going to go see what they did with it and hope I don’t cry.”

Lewis’s collection altogether is worth an estimated three quarters of a million dollars.

Source: KDLT News