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.
The top item of the sale was lot 520, an unpublished 65-page manuscript, written in his own hand, and titled “A Family Sketch”.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.)
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.
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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Please send me your comments or questions about art glass, lamps, Louis Icart, shows, auctions, etc. If it’s interesting, I’ll answer you in a future blog.