Handwritten Letters From Dickens, Van Gogh, Lennon Up For Auction

Category: Media & Culture / Dec 03, 2012 7:35PM EDT
Public and private letters from some of the world's most distinguished politicians, authors and entertainers will go up for auction. Profiles in History, a California-based historic documents dealer and auctioneer is offering nearly 300 lots in its December 18 sale in California. About 50 items went on display in a New York real estate office on Monday (December 3). Among the items for sale include an autographed manuscript from Charles Dickens. The manuscript has a pre-sale estimate of $40,000 - $60,000 (USD). Also for sale is an autographed letter from Emily Dickinson. The letter, written in pencil in 1884, has a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 - $30,000. A wide range of items from U.S. Presidents, entertainers, artists and authors shape the sale. "That, I think is one of the more extraordinary things about this collection, the range of material. To have 10 Washington letters, six Jefferson letters, and eye witness account of the Battle of Bunker Hill and then to have Beethoven, Gershwin, to have Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, to then have Dickens and Emily Dickinson. That sort of range is just unspeakable in a collection. This collection, it's shocking that it's a private collector. It really almost seems like it's an institutional collection," said Marsha Malinowski, Senior Historical Consultant at Profiles in History. 10 letters from the first U.S. President George Washington are expected to fetch between $20,000 and $300,000 each, and documents from former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson are expected to earn between $8,000 and $500,000 each. One of the more recent letters for sale comes from John Lennon. In 1971, Lennon wrote an eight page draft to Eric Clapton. "There is an eight-page John Lennon letter that is probably the longest John Lennon autographed letter signed I've ever seen and it's to Eric Clapton. So the association is extraordinary. And John Lennon is looking to start up a new band. This is post-Beatles. It is 1971 and he thinks that Eric Clapton has the right stuff, he always did and he wants to work with him," detailed Malinowski. All of the items come from the collection of a single American who wants to remain anonymous. The collection will fuel at least four planned auctions through 2014.