Edgar Allen Poe book from 1827 sells for $662,500

Fri Dec 4, 2009 3:14pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - An 1827 first edition copy of poems by Edgar Allan Poe sold for $662,500 on Friday setting a record for a 19th century book of poetry, said a spokeswoman for Christie's auction house.

"Tamerlane and Other Poems," Poe's first book as an author, was sold to an unidentified American collector. Only a dozen copies of the book exist from that first edition, said Jessie Edelman of Christie's.

Poe, who readers worldwide know for his lyrical works about the macabre, is believed to have begun his writing career at age 18 by printing only 50 copies of his first book of poems.

He did not attach his name to those books, which indicated their authorship was from "A Bostonian."

Poe had moved to Boston, the city where he was born, after leaving his foster parents' Richmond, Virginia, home.

The 40-page "Tamerlane and Other Poems" was inspired by the work of British poet Lord Byron, and the title poem is about an historical conqueror who laments the loss of his first love.

The book, which has been stained and frayed with the decades, came from the library of William E. Self, a television and film producer.

Poe's most famous poem is "The Raven," but he also wrote stories "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher."

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>An employee of Christie's holds an original copy of American writer Edgar Allan Poe's Tamerlane and Other Poems, which will be auctioned on Friday for an expected $500,000 to $700,000, in New York, December 1, 2009. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly</p>