ON THE BLOCK

Christie's Sells Poe Book for $662K

If only every week were like this week in the book industry: Christie’s most recent book auction surpassed estimated prices and brought in huge bids for rare editions of works by authors from Charles Dickens to Charles Darwin to Oscar Wilde, with some copies garnering six-digit selling prices. A number of Jane Austen’s novels were up for auction, and a three-volume 1816 edition of Pride and Prejudice went for $104,000, outpricing an 1847 edition of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which went for $86,500. An 1849 print of Origin of the Species went for $146,000, but the big-ticket author for this auction ended up being Edgar Allan Poe. A number of the author’s works were being auctioned, but the one that garnered the most interest was his first work, Tamerlane and Other Poems. Published in 1827 under the ambiguous byline “By a Bostonian,” the book is one of 12 copies still in existence, and went for a staggering $662,000, though its seller described it as "kind of a beat-up copy." "This is known as the black tulip of U.S. literature," said the head of the auction. However, an autographed manuscript of one of Poe’s other poems performed even better and went for $830,500, several hundred thousand dollars more than its estimated take.