Science fiction author Bradbury's estate auction nets nearly $500,000

Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:38pm EDT
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By Eric M. Johnson

(Reuters) - A portion of late science fiction author Ray Bradbury's estate, including George Bernard Shaw's garden spade and artworks both comedic and surreal, sold for $493,408 in California, the auctioneer said.

Bradbury, who died in 2012, was perhaps best known for his dystopian classic, "Fahrenheit 451.," the auctioneer said. In a career spanning more than 70 years, the Waukegan, Illinois, native also wrote "Dandelion Wine," "I Sing the Body Electric" and "From the Dust Returned" as hundreds of short stories, poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays and screenplays.

Among Bradbury's possessions sold late on Thursday was an inscribed spade owned by Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw and a meandering science-fiction-free unpublished poem about the garden tool, which sold together for $6,250, auctioneer Nate D. Sanders said.

Dean Ellis' painting of a naked, tattoo-covered man sitting atop a tiny wooden platform under a bewitching crimson sky, used for the 1969 cover of short story collection "The Illustrated Man," sold for $45,894, the auction house said.

Surrealist painting "Carnival" by Italian-born artist Joseph Mungnaini, a longtime friend of Bradbury's who developed cover and interior art for his books, won $23,153, the auctioneer said.

A mounted silver Hugo Award, the top trophy for science fiction writing which Bradbury won in 2004, garnered $28,734, and Hal Foster's Prince Valiant comic series fetched $21,175, it said.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Sandra Maler)