Poe poetry earns $662,500 at auction

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A book of poetry published in 1827 by an author happy to identify himself simply as “A Bostonian” has sold for $662,500 at Christie’s. The real author? Edgar Allen Poe.

Poe was born in Boston, but left when his parents, traveling actors, made their exit. After the death of his mother, he was abandoned by his father and deposited upon a foster family in Richmond, VA. Years later, he returned to Boston, where he published several small volumes of poetry.

Out of 50 self-published copies of “Tamerlane,” only 12 are still known to exist, and, of those, only two are in private hands.

The buyer at the Christie’s auction was not identified.

The name “Tamerlane” is a Latinized version of “Timur Lenk,” a 14th-century warlord, though little of the poem is historically accurate. In the poem, Tamerlane forsakes his love of a peasant girl in order to seek power, a decision he regrets, of course, once he’s on his death bed. A warning to peasant girls everywhere: warlords make lousy childhood sweethearts.


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