Sotheby's London has announced a sale of a unique, exquisitely leather-bound boxed set of Stieg Larsson's internationally bestselling and award-winning Millennium Trilogy as part of its English Literature Sale on December 15.
Estimated at £8,000-12,000 ($18,749), the one-of-a-kind set, comprising The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, includes the original letter of rejection sent to a young Larsson in 1972 by the Joint Committee of Colleges of Journalism.
Larsson kept this letter among his personal possessions until his death, and it reveals, overleaf, an original pencil portrait by the author himself which has never before been seen by the public. Stieg Larsson's drawing skills are well documented, but his drawings have not previously been published.
This document has been donated by the author's family specifically to be included with this boxed set, the sale of which will benefit Expo, the anti-discrimination foundation set up in 1995 by Larsson and his peers.
Larsson served as president of the foundation as well as editor-in-chief of Expo magazine until his death in 2004. The Estate of Stieg Larsson, namely Stieg Larsson's father and brother, comment on the sale.
"We are greatly impressed by this beautiful one-off binding of The Millennium Trilogy, intricately designed to reflect the contents of the books.
"It is not only a collector's piece that can be described as an homage to the publishing phenomenon that Stieg's books became following his death, but very importantly its sale will benefit an organisation he believed in deeply.
"It gives Stieg's brother and myself great pleasure to know that Expo will benefit from funds that will enable the foundation and magazine to continue their hugely important work."
Unique Boxed Set Binding
The brainchild of Mark Smith, CEO of Quercus Books - whose MacLehose imprint is Larsson's UK publisher - this unique boxed set was designed and realised by the esteemed British bookbinders Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
Sangorski & Sutcliffe's chief designer Eri Funazaki executed the design concept by bindings director Alison Strachan.
Bound in crushed black Morocco leather, the books interlock with a row of five silver studs which fit into red grooves on the corresponding cover they are placed against, and each volume displays gilt designs on their upper covers illustrating the themes contained within the text.
The books' spines are etched with silver to form the author's name across the three volumes when placed together, and each of the books is gilt-edged, with the insides of the covers revealing scarlet endpapers.
The boxed set also includes a reproduction by artist Emily Faccini of the map originally drawn by Stieg Larsson of his fictional Hedeby Island.
"The colour scheme of red and black seemed appropriate to the violence and darkness of the subject matter," Strachan reflects, 'and the hand-tooled designs of each front cover were designed to echo the images of the titles and the tattoos that cover Lisbet...
"The studs were a manifestation of the sado/masochism of some of the male characters [and] the way the studs fit into the cover of the next book was a symbol of how the protagonists work together, their close relationship which is intrinsic to how each of the books relates to the other."
A film version of Larsson's novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will be released on December 21, starring James Bond actor Daniel Craig (pictured top right).