September 2015 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Kafka's Passport at Auction

Coming to auction next week is Franz Kafka's signed Czechoslovak passport. The author was born in Prague in 1883. This 32-page booklet with various manuscript notes and stamps, though lacking his passport photo, was used during the last two years of his life as he traveled in Germany and Austria, where he died in 1924.

kafka.jpgThe passport is "hitherto an unknown survival," notes Bonhams. It is likely that Kafka left it to his friend Robert Klopstock, known to be at the author's bedside when he died. Klopstock then gave the passport to Kafka's publisher, Salman Schocken, who collected Kafka's papers. Schocken then passed it to Gerda Schulz, a fellow Jewish refugee and former employee, whose family has now consigned it to auction. 

Bonhams estimates the passport will bring $10,000-15,000 when it goes to auction in New York on September 22.

Image via Bonhams.