Following our auction “The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector Part 1″ auction in December 2012, we conducted its sequel: “The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector Part II” held on May 30th, 2013.
The sale was a tremendous success, grossing over $3 million, with over 98% of lots selling!
Some of the highlights of the auction included:
Handwritten letter by Marilyn Monroe to acting teacher and mentor Lee Strasberg revealing her emotional downward spiral – sold for $156,000.
Hollywood takes its toll on Marilyn Monroe’s psychological well-being and the great actress writes: “I am still lost – I mean I can’t get myself together … I sound crazy but I think I’m going crazy … I’m not existing in the human race at all …”
The troubled actress writes in full: “I’m embarrised [sic] to start this, but thank you for understanding and having changed my life – even though you changed it I still am lost – I mean I can’t get myself together – I think its because everything is pulling against my concentration – everything one does or lives is impossible almost. You once said, the first time I heard you talk at the Actors Studio that there is only concentration between the actor and suiside [sic]. As soon as I walk into a scene I lose my mental relaxation for some reason, – which is my concentration. My will is weak but I can’t stand anything. I sound crazy but I think I’m going crazy. Thanks for letting Paula [Paula Miller, Lee Strasberg’s second wife] help me on the picture she is the only really warm woman I’ve known. It’s just that I get before camera and my concentration and everything I’m trying to learn leaves me. Then I feel like I’m not existing in the human race at all.”
An extraordinary letter clearly revealing Monroe on her emotional downward spiral — a downward spiral that was exacerbated by drugs and alcohol. Monroe’s cognizance of her mental instability is particularly poignant as she reaches out to her acting teacher and mentor, Lee Strasberg.
Original patent application drawings of Edison’s light bulb signed by Thomas Edison – sold for $45,000.
Edison, Thomas Alva. Extraordinary original large heavy paper sheet containing eight printed schematic drawings of Edison’s invention, the incandescent lamp, signed by Edison, (“Thomas Alva Edison”) in the lower center, (16 x 22.37 in.; 406 x 568 mm.), being the original patent submitted to Bolivia in 1881 for his invention of the light bulb, in the lower left, the signature has been witnessed by Charles H. Smith and George T. Pinckney.
Contentious typed letter by John Lennon to Paul McCartney with hand-annotations – sold for $36,000.
Lennon, John. Typed letter, 2 pages, (11.75 x 8.25 in.; 298 x 210 mm.), [ca. 1969-71] to Linda and Paul McCartney, unsigned with hand annotations, on Bag Productions Inc., Tittenhurst Park, Ascot, Berkshire letterhead stationery containing a yin-yang-like logo, consisting of the photographic profiles of John Lennon and Yoko Ono placed opposite each other within a circle, with their lips almost touching.
John Lennon bitterly lectures Paul and Linda McCartney to get off their high horse, continuing their contentious battle before the Beatles dissolve.
Handwritten letter by Beethoven on his opera Fidelio – sold for $96,000.
Beethoven, Ludwig van. Important autograph letter signed (“Beethoven”), in German, 1 page, (6 x 9.75 in.; 216 x 178 mm.), [Vienna], 2 December , written to Friedrich Sebastian Mayer (bass baritone singer); slight browning. Days before the premiere of his opera Fidelio, Ludwig van Beethoven writes to opera singer Friedrich Sebastian Mayer, the baritone who sang “Don Pizarro” in the first performances.
Beethoven writes in full: “Here [is] the 1st act. Tonight the second where actually only few changes [have been] made. As soon as both acts are written, I ask to have them sent back to me promptly. Beethoven”
Extraordinary handwritten letter by Karl Marx – sold for $51,000.
Karl Marx to John Swinton with mention of Henry George, David Ricardo, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Louis Viereck and Friedrich Engels.
Marx writes in full: “Dear Mr. Swinton, I need hardly recommend you the bearer of these lines, my excellent friend, Mr. Hartmann.
I send you through him a photogravure of mine; it is rather bad, but the only one left to me.
As to the book of Mr. Henry George, I consider it as a last attempt — to save the capitalist regime.
Of course, that is not the meaning of the author, but the older disciples of Ricardo — the radical ones -fancied already that by the public appropriation of the rent of land every wrong would be righted.
I have referred to this doctrine in “Le Misere de la Philosophie” (published in 1847, against Proudhon). Mrs. Marx sends you her best complements.
Unfortunately her illness assumes a more and more fatal character. Believe me, dear sir, Yours most sincerely Karl Marx”
Marx writes: “The “Viereck” was so stultified at his arrival in the U.S. that he confounded my friend Engels with myself, and transformed my compliments to you into those of Engels: he did the same with regard to another American friend of mine by whose letter I was informed of the quid pro quo.”
Handwritten letter by Thomas Jefferson on aging and passing on of duties to the next generation of Americans – sold for $60,000.
Jefferson, Thomas. Extraordinary autograph letter signed (“Th: Jefferson”), 1 page, (9.62 x 7.87 in.; 244 x 200 mm.), Monticello, 26 January 1822 to Mrs. Katharine Duane Morgan; browned; repaired.
Jefferson waxes profound on the virtues of retirement as he edges toward becoming an octogenarian.
With great eloquence, Jefferson acknowledges the passing of time as well as the importance of the passing on of duties to the next generation of Americans.
Jefferson writes in full: “I have duly received, dear Madam, your favor of the 10th with the eloquent Circular and Address to your patriotic and fair companions in good works. I well recollect our acquaintance with yourself personally in Washington, valued for your own merit as well as for that of your esteemed father. your connection too with the family of the late Colo. [Daniel] Morgan is an additional title to my grateful recollections. he first gave us notice of the mad project of that day, which if suffered to proceed, might have brought afflicting consequences on persons whose subsequent lives have proved their integrity and loyalty to their country.
The effort which is the subject of your letter is truly laudable, and, if generally followed as an example, or practiced as a duty, will change very advantageously the condition of our fellow citizens, & do just honor to those who shall have taken the lead in it. no one has been more sensible than myself of the advantage of placing the consumer by the side of the producer, nor more disposed to promote it by example. but these are among the matters which I must now leave to others. time, which wears all things, does not spare the enemies either of body or mind of a presque Octogenaire. while I could, I did what I could, and now acquiesce chearfully [sic] in the law of nature which, by unfitting us for action, warns us to retire and leave to the generation of the day the direction of it’s [sic] own affairs. the prayers of an old man are the only contributions left in his power. mine are offered sincerely for the success of your patriotic efforts, and particularly to your own individual happiness & prosperity.
Notable Mentions include:
Archive of (9) handwritten love letters from John Steinbeck to actress Ann Sothern – sold for $27,000.
Handwritten letter by Mark Twain to Dracula author Bram Stoker – sold for $20,400.
Louis Pasteur handwritten letter on his work with fermentation – sold for $19,200.