June 2010 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Copley at Sotheby's

On The Bloc-TwainMss.jpg
Today in New York more of James S. Copley's library went under the hammer at Sotheby's. The "big news," is that the July 1776 broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence came in under estimate at $572,500, and Mark Twain's unpublished "Family Sketch" (pictured here) came in way over at $242,500 (both numbers include buyer's premium).

Other highlights include a pen-and-ink portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald by Robert Kastor, with a signed quotation by Fitzgerald, which went for $98,500, even though its estimate was only $25-$35,000. A Charlotte Bronte letter sold for $68,500, and a group of manuscript letters and scraps from newspaperman William Randolph Hearst climbed over estimate to $40,625.

My personal favorite (of course) is a fragment of Thoreau's Autumnal Tints manuscript. Yes, just a fragment for $3,750.