Letters from a Young Kurt Vonnegut Top Autographs Auction
Collectors Drawn to Autographs of Innovators
Our auction of Autographs on Thursday, November 8 saw major interest in notable authors and innovators, as well as American heroes in a variety of fields including athletes and presidents.
Kurt Vonnegut–an American writer best known for his science-fiction infused anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five–was a standout of the sale with a group of letters written to members of his family, largely from his time enlisted in the army during WWII. The offering of 12 letters, on various subjects including the war, love, alcohol and art also contain small drawings and doodles by the young Vonnegut, reached $12,500 over a high estimate of $6,000.
Of the Vonnegut offering Marco Tomaschett, Autographs Specialist, noted:
“Vonnegut’s letters are themselves tiny literary achievements. They sparkle with humor and keen observation, some with parts taking the form of a dialogue between his recipient and a fictional interlocutor; others serving as a sketchpad for clever insignias or flags that make a sarcastic commentary on the text running alongside. Vonnegut’s letters are a joy to read, and that the group Swann offered realized as high a price as it did is a testament to the fact that there are still those who appreciate the joy of reading.”
Additional literary figures included a Ralph Waldo Emerson photograph signed, which brought $4,750.
Innovators proved to be popular with collectors with an ALS by Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre discussing his newly created portable camera, which grossed $12,350, and a photograph signed and inscribed by Orville Wright. The silver print shows the first flight of the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903 with Wilbur running alongside the plane and Orville piloting ($6,750).
Correspondents from American Presidents and First Ladies featured an Abigail Adams autograph letter offering marriage advice to her son that reached $5,460. An ALS from Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State reached $9,375.