An extremely rare manuscript handwritten by American author Edgar Allan Poe has auctioned for $300,000 in the US.
The price represents a magnificent 1,400% increase on the yellowing manuscript's conservative $20,000 top estimate.
Entitled The Conqueror Worm, the poetic manuscript is dedicated to Poe's rival RW Griswold.
First drafted circa 1830, The Conqueror Worm explores notions of mortality and finality. In typical grisly fashion, Poe suggests that the "crawling…blood red" worms, which feed on human cadavers, inevitably prevail.
The dedication might be understood as somewhat portentous, as, following Poe's untimely and largely unexplained death in 1849, Griswold took it upon himself to edit and interpret Poe's literacy legacy - feeding like a parasite upon Poe's life's work.
Although initially amiable, Poe and Griswold quickly became bitter rivals. Following Poe's passing, Griswold depicted the macabre author as a drunken, drug-addled madman, fabricating letters in order to evidence Poe's lunacy.
Unfortunately for Griswold, his critical analysis failed to deter readers. Poe's supposed evilness drew swathes of fans who might not otherwise have heard of the writer.
The manuscript sold from a private family collection at Marion Antique Auctions on July 27.
It is the only known complete Poe poem, handwritten by the author, which has ever been available on the open market.
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