Long-time readers will know that I collect “historic documents.” E.g., this column three years ago about a Steinbeck letter along with letters by the inventor of television and another by the inventor of the telegraph.
Back off! They are not for sale.
But with this site’s subscription fees down and ad sales as low as they’ve ever been — and an avocado-a-day habit to support — I do, in fact, offer an item or two in this upcoming auction.
Ah, but which?
Could it be the set of Edward Albee letters? (Estimated at $600-$800, plus the buyer’s premium you have to pay.)
One of the Einsteins? (“If Hitler were not a lunatic he could easily have avoided the hostility of the Western powers. That he is a lunatic is the sole advantage in the present sinister picture of the world.” — September 3, 1942 — $30,000-$50,000.)
The Rutherford B. Hayes ($300-$500)?
The Nehru, talking about Gandhi ($3,000-$5,000)?
The President Truman to Eleanor Roosevelt (and hers, passing his along — $1,500-$2,500)? The Hamilton? (You’ve heard the show; now own the letter — $10,000-$15,000.)
An actual honest-to-God John Hancock ($600-$800)?
How about the photo of Thomas Edison inscribed to Madame Curie ($6,000-$12,000)?
Add a Franklin Pierce to your collection (he was President, after all, if no Lincoln — $300-500)?
A 1795 document signed by Robert Morris ($300-$500) or a 1782 Robert Morris letter to Benjamin Franklin in Paris (with Franklin’s signature of receipt — $40,000-$80,000)?
Or a Hemingway letter talking Gertrude Stein? (“She used to talk to me about homosexuality and how it was fine in and for women and no good in men and I used to listen and learn and I always wanted to fuck her and she knew it and t was a good healthy feeling” — $25,000-$35,000.)
It’s a lot cheaper, obviously, and perhaps a lot smarter, to read through the catalog, here, free, than to get hooked on any of this.* But if you do bid on anything April 18, please bid high.
It could be mine.
*The lots are listed alphabetically, from John Adams and Beethoven to Zachary Taylor and Orville Wright. There is a Zola, but it’s lumped in with the seven other authors, like Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain, who inscribed the same page, and so listed as item #8.