Edgar Allan Poe letter brings $34,000 in online auction

A rare signed letter sent by Edgar Allan Poe has provided one of the main attractions in an online auction that closed yesterday (November 14).

The sale saw the piece sell for $34,128, achieving a dramatic increase on the $17,500 it was selling for at the time of our October 30 preview.

Edgar Allan Poe signed letter
Poe had recently returned to Virginia with his 13 year old bride

The letter is written by Poe during a temporary redundancy from his job as the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger - the periodical that helped the macabre author establish his reputation as one of America's top literary figures. Poe was temporarily unable to work due to a period of bad health, though he was later dismissed as editor for being caught drunk on the job.

The letter is addressed to "Mr Charles Ellis Sr. Present", a former business partner and close friend of his adoptive father, John Allan, and sees the ailing writer appealing for a loan. Dated September 26, 1836, it reads:

"Do you think you could oblige me so far as to let me have the amount of $50 in dry goods, upon a credit of 4 months? If so, I would be greatly indebted to you, and my aunt will call down to choose such articles as she may wish. Very resp'y, Edgar A. Poe."

The author had returned to Richmond, Virginia with his 13 year old cousin, Virginia, and her mother - his aunt - after secretly marrying the former in Baltimore. Here he is shown struggling to meet the cost of supporting his new family.

We are currently offering a brilliant range of literary collectibles in our online store, as well as a number of signed letters from top authors. Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more of the latest news from across the auction world.


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