I got a call the other night from the press office at Sotheby's auction
house about a Mark Twain sale they will be having this June -- the Nick
I'd never heard of the gentleman (probably many of you have, though --
especially Alan Gribben!) but I checked him out online and learned he
was a schoolteacher & later principal of a magnet school that he created
in Fort Wayne. He lived in Indiana all his 64 years and was a
passionate collector of all things Twainish. He also served on the
board of the Mark Twain Home Foundation up until his death last January.
Sounds like a wonderful man.
He started collecting Twain in the 1960s, and the sale of his
collection, with an estimated value about $800,000, will be June 19th.
The 250 or so lots include books (including about 120 from Twain's own
library), photos, letters, manuscripts, advertisements, movie posters --
and Twain's own mahogany writing desk. (Can you imagine any more
daunting possession that that for a writer?!) A few years ago he even
taught a 5-day course at Indiana University on "Collecting Mark Twain."
For those of us who can't afford to bid, the viewing the week before
promises to be a rare opportunity to see some marvelous & powerfully
evocative stuff. For those who can afford it, well, more power to you.
The young lady who called said I should expect to get their catalog in a
few days. If Forum members are interested I can post more info then.