You could have bought a piece of history at Sotheby’s New York sale of the Mark Twain Collection, June 17, 2010

Sotheby’s New York sold the Mark Twain Collection of original letters, manuscripts and photographs, as part of a larger sale of the James S. Copley Library, June 17, 2010. The Mark Twain Collection consisted of about 200 items, valued pre-sale at approximately $1 million and realizing $1,367,268.

Page 1 of the Mark Twain manuscript <i>A Family Sketch</i>, Sotheby's lot 520, June 17, 2010

Page 1 of the Mark Twain manuscript A Family Sketch, Sotheby's lot 520, June 17, 2010

The top item of the sale was lot 520, an unpublished 65-page manuscript, written in his own hand, and titled “A Family Sketch”. It’s a rambling narrative of his youth, including incidents and stories of people he met growing up. It carried a pre-sale estimate of $120-160,000 and sold for $242,500, including buyer’s premium. (All prices in this report include the buyer’s premium.)

Two Samuel Clemens items, Sotheby's lot 471, June 17, 2010

Two Samuel Clemens items, Sotheby's lot 471, June 17, 2010

You didn’t have to be a millionaire to participate in this auction. Many Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) items sold for less than $5,000. Lot 471 was a lot of two items regarding the publication of his book, Roughing It, and sold for only $500.

Amelia Earhart letter, Sotheby's lot 310, June 17, 2010

Amelia Earhart letter, Sotheby's lot 310, June 17, 2010

If Mark Twain didn’t interest you, the rest of the Copley Library may have. Some of the historical figures represented included George Gershwin, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Gandhi, Charles Lindbergh, and Isaac Newton, to name a few. Lots ranged in price from $500 for several items, up to $68,500 for a letter by Charlotte Brontë. An amusing typewritten letter by Amelia Earhart, Sotheby’s lot 310, was estimated to sell for $2,500-3,500 and only brought $1,250.

The entire sale of the Copley Library, including the Mark Twain Library, sold for $2,210,842. For the complete results of the sale, click on the following link. The James S. Copley Library results.

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