Auctions | June 17, 2019

Leonard Cohen’s 'Letters to Marianne' Sale Totals $876,000

New York – On June 5-13, Christie’s brought to auction an archive of over 50 letters from the acclaimed Canadian poet, singer-songwriter, and novelist Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) to his most famous muse, the inspiration for the song "So Long, Marianne," Marianne Ihlen. The first ever online auction for the New York Books & Manuscripts department totaled $876,000, selling 100 % by lot and 100% by value. The top lot of the online auction was There is a crack, a crack in everything An Italian bronze bell, c. 15th-16th century which sold for $81,250. The top letter from the auction was Alone with the vast dictionaries of language Montreal, December 1960, realizing $56,250, compared to an original high estimate of $7,000.

Courtesy of Christie's

The top letter from the auction was "Alone with the vast dictionaries of language," Montreal, December 1960, realizing $56,250.

Other notable results included I am famous and empty typed letter signed (“Leonard”) to Marianne Ihlen ("My Darling Marianne") with autograph annotations, New York, 8 November 1964, which realized $35,000; Cohen’s first major performance Autograph letter signed (“Leonard”) to Marianne Ihlen ("Darling"), New York, 23 February 1967 which totaled $35,000; and Songs From a Room Autograph poem to Marianne Ihlen [Nashville, October 1968]. – IHLEN, Marianne (1935-2016). Autograph letter signed ("M.") to Leonard Cohen, no place, no date, which sold for $32,500.

Heather Weintraub, Associate Specialist, Books & Manuscripts, New York commented: “These letters are exactly the sort of thing we love to handle: they are unpublished and fresh-to-market, with compelling content and impeccable provenance. The collection was estimated conservatively and we are absolutely delighted with the outcome. We are thrilled that this material has spoken to so many of Cohen’s admirers around the world.”