News | June 14, 2024

Steinbeck's Letters to his Secretary and Tolkien's Letter to Young Fan to Auction

RR Auction

Part of the Steinbeck-Mary Morgan archive

An intimate archive of signed books and correspondence from John Steinbeck to his typist Mary Morgan is expected to make at least $60,000 at auction.

This unique collection captures Steinbeck's playful side, featuring seven signed books with witty and risqué dedications and 26 letters showcasing Steinbeck's appreciation of Mary's friendship. "This collection offers a rare and intimate glimpse into the personal world of one of America's greatest literary figures," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

Anothr heartwarming letter at the auction was penned by J.R.R. Tolkien on his personal letterhead to eight-year-old fan Christopher Howard. Dated December 28, 1961, it reveals Tolkien's thoughts on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. "Letters from Tolkien that mention or even allude to either of these defining works are of exceptional desirability. That this example mentions both is  cause for excitement," said Livingston (estimate: $15,000).

Other highlights of RR Auction's Art, Literature, and Classical Music auction which will conclude on June 20 include:

* a signed and inscibed single volume octavo copy of Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens presented to the prominent London librarian and antiquary William Upcott. The volume features illustrations by George Cruikshank (estimate: $20,000).

* a rare signed limited edition of James Joyce's Ulysses, published by The Bodley Head in 1936. This edition, limited to 100 signed copies, is bound in calf vellum with a Homeric bow design by Eric Gill (estimate: $25,000).

* letters by Herman Melville, Victor Hugo, and J.D. Salinger

* Charles Schulz's original Peanuts designs for Tarzana's Snoopy Bridge. This complete set of original pen-and-ink drawings was gifted by the artist in 1971 to decorate the newly erected overhead footbridge at the intersection of Wilbur Avenue and Collins Street in Los Angeles's suburban Tarzana neighborhood of San Fernando Valley (estimate: $100,000).

Musical items in the auction include a handwritten church cantata fragment by Johann Sebastian Bach, a piece from the cantata Ich habe meine Zuversicht (BWV 188, estimate: $300,000), and a significant autograph musical manuscript by Ludwig van Beethoven, his first sketch of Neue Liebe, neues Leben, a setting of Goethe's 1775 love poem (estimate: $150,000).

The auction also features rare autographs of Franz Joseph Haydn, Giuseppe Verdi, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini.