Hemingway Manuscript & Letter
Appraised Value: $7,500 - $8,000 (1997)
$12,000 - $17,000 (2011)
IMAGE: 1 of 7
Appraisal Video: (3:20)
Books & Manuscripts
Senior Vice President & Senior Specialist, Rare Books and Manuscripts
GUEST: As far as I'm aware this is a letter from Ernest Hemingway and this is a page out of one of the novels that he had written.
APPRAISER: That is exactly what they are and, although Hemingway is not uncommon in manuscript form, these are two rather unusual ones. The one on this side is a leaf from one of his literary works. But I was very struck by the fact that in the course of this page he mentions Nick twice.
APPRAISER: And Nick Adams, of course, was one of the great Hemingway characters in several works.
APPRAISER: The other interesting thing about this leaf is clearly, you can see Hemingway in the process of literary creation. He writes a sentence, then he has a second thought, crosses it out, writes a new version of that same sentence. So this is what we call in the field of manuscripts a working manuscript as opposed to something he wrote out as a souvenir afterwards. Working manuscripts are always of the highest interest because they show the creativity in progress. And Hemingway manuscript leaves are rather uncommon.
GUEST: Oh, great.
APPRAISER: The second piece, also Ernest Hemingway-- you can see that slanting hand. He had a way of slanting his hand out. This has no date. It's not addressed to anybody in particular so I would not really term it a letter but sort of a satirical statement. And it's a diatribe against, apparently, a literary critic named Seward Collins, editor of the Bookman, who was apparently crusading for morality in literature. Very outspoken, very funny, strongly worded.
GUEST: Yes, very!
APPRAISER: So two very, very interesting literary treasures. And then when I turned this one over I found something fascinating about their history... which reveals quite an interesting story itself. It's an auction sticker tag, from Channel 13 warehouse. These two were donated to a Channel 13 auction by none other than Mrs. Ernest Hemingway, 27 East 65th Street in New York.
APPRAISER: Tell us where you got these.
GUEST: Well, about 20 years ago, Channel 13, to raise money-- that's our public television station-- they would run these auctions, and when this came up, I was so excited, I phoned in a bid. I paid just, like, a couple of hundred dollars for it.
APPRAISER: Only that, $200?
GUEST: Right, just because I like Hemingway. And so now they just hang in my living room and I'm really not concerned about if it's increased in value. Just when people walk in, they read it and they just get so excited about actually seeing...
APPRAISER: And they're struck by it...
GUEST: yes, indeed.
APPRAISER: And, actually, although the value isn't the main reason you came and brought them today, I think if I was estimating these for auction today-- the two pieces-- I would probably estimate them at about a total of $7,500...
APPRAISER: To $8,000.
GUEST: Wow! Thank you.
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