Handwritten Mark Twain chapter sells for $79,300

Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:41pm EST
 
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CHICAGO (Reuters Life!) - A handwritten chapter of Mark Twain's "A Tramp Abroad" sold for $79,300 at auction, which was well above expectations, the auction house said on Friday.

The Twain work had a pre-sale estimate of between $30,000 and $50,000, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers said.

Thursday night's fine books and manuscripts auction brought the gavel down on a handwritten high school essay by a young Ernest Hemingway for $7,320, a Potomac Company document signed by George Washington that sold for $9,670, and autographed documents from Leo Tolstoy, Boris Pasternak, Auguste Rodin and Henri Matisse.

"The sales results were astounding, proving once again that property from private collections that is fresh to the market will always attract competitive bidding," said Mary Williams, the auction house's director of books and manuscripts.

Another sale item drawing interest was a "death mask" made of bank robber John Dillinger, which sold for $3,660.

(Reporting by Andrew Stern)