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May 22, 2013

Harry Potter first edition featuring JK Rowling drawings sells for £150,000

PotterAuction of tomes scribbled upon and annotated by their authors raises total of £440,000 for English Pen writers’ association.

By Ben Quinn

A first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, with author JK Rowling’s notes and original illustrations, was sold for £150,000 at auction in London.

The book, which was auctioned by Sotheby’s at a charity sale in aid of the English Pen writers’ association, was purchased by an anonymous bidder by telephone.

The annotations by Rowling include comments on the process of writing and a section from an early draft of the novel, along with a number of illustrations drawn by her and a note on how she came to invent Quidditch, a sport played by characters in the books.

She and others had been asked to “scribble second thoughts, marginalia or drawings” on a first edition copy of one of their books for the event, which raised £439,200 in total.

A copy of Roald Dahl’s bestselling children’s book Matilda, containing new drawings by illustrator Quentin Blake, fetched £30,000, while an annotated copy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Remains of the Day went for £18,000.

In other lots, a copy of Julian Barnes’s Metroland sold for £14,000, a copy of Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader fetched £11,000 and a copy of Seamus Heaney’s Death of a Naturalist was bought for £17,000. A copy of Colm Tóibín’s The Heather Blazing was sold for £15,500.

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April 12, 2013

Faulkner’s Past Isn’t Dead; You Can Buy It at Auction

A recently discovered trove of William Faulkner writings includes illustrated letters.

A recently discovered trove of William Faulkner writings includes illustrated letters.


William Faulkner typed the story on the back of University of Mississippi letterhead, an early exercise in fiction writing about a fur trapper’s trip to a big city. Its 13 browned pages, stashed in an old, mismarked box in a barn on the Faulkner family farm in Charlottesville, Va., were discovered just last year. Now they, along with a stack of hand-corrected manuscripts, letters, a hand-bound poetry book and Faulkner’s Nobel medal, are headed to Sotheby’s for auction in June.

For collectors Faulkner’s 1949 medal, his Nobel diploma and an early handwritten draft of the speech he made when accepting the award are likely to be the most sought-after items at the sale. Sotheby’s estimates they alone will fetch his family between $500,000 and $1 million.

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April 11, 2013

Charlotte Bronte poem: $47,000 an inch

Charlotte Bronte, who wrote more than 200 poems, penned "I've Been Wandering in the Greenwoods" when she was just 13 years old.

Charlotte Bronte, who wrote more than 200 poems, penned “I’ve Been Wandering in the Greenwoods” when she was just 13 years old.

By Jenny Hendrix

A tiny poem written by a teenage Charlotte Bronte has sold for more than $140,000, the Guardian reports. Called “I’ve Been Wandering in the Greenwoods,” the poem, composed when Bronte was 13 years old, is handwritten on a piece of paper just three inches square. It is difficult to read without a magnifying glass.

The manuscript is dated Dec. 14, 1829, and signed “C. Bronte.” Written in a minuscule hand on the scrap of paper (easy to hide, one imagines, from one’s siblings or clergyman father) is a sweet little poem about a doleful walk along a mountain stream. It’s clearly the work of a serious child — the flowers primrose and asphodel symbolizing youth and death, respectively — and one who already had an ear for rhythm.


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March 13, 2013

Rare poem written by 13-year-old Charlotte Brontë goes on sale

Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

The 16-line poem is expected to fetch between £40,000 – £45,000

By Felicity Capon

A very early poem by 13-year-old Charlotte Brontë has gone on sale at Bonhams auction house in London.

The manuscript of Charlotte Brontë’s poem, I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods, is expected to fetch between £40,000 – £45,000.

The poem is signed “C Brontë” and dated 14 December 1829. It is written on a small slip of paper 3×3 inches in size and cannot be read easily without a magnifying glass.

A spokesman for Bonhams said: “Poetical manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë are extremely rare – only two others have been sold at auction in 40 years or more. This may be the last poem by her in private hands.”

The poem is among a collection of more than 260 other poems and portraits going under the hammer. The collection is the result of 40 years of collecting by the Oxfordshire poet and scholar Roy Davids. Together, the items are expected to sell for up to £800,000.

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December 22, 2010

Bookseller Buys Dahl Story

The unfinished Roald Dahl children’s story that went up for auction on eBay last week fetched $1,900 for Jerry Biederman, who has owned the document and the rights to the story since 1982 when he paid Dahl $200 for its use in the proposed Do-It-Yourself Children’s Storybook…read more

December 16, 2010


A RARE cricket book described as “gold dust” has sold at auction for more than £150,000.

A Collection Of All The Grand Matches Played In England From 1771 To 1791 fetched a world record for a book on the sport.

The 1799 work, by William Epps, was expected to sell for up to £70,000 – in fact it fetched £151, 250….read more

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