A rare undiscovered manuscript by the best-selling children's author Dr Seuss sold at Nate D Sanders' auction yesterday (December 6), proving that even the canniest of collectors can still be young at heart.
The manuscript was an unfinished rough first draft of an unpublished story entitled "All Sorts of Sports", featuring Dr Seuss's handwritten notes, rhymes and drawings throughout. It had an estimated price of approximately $7,500, but when the hammer fell it had sold for $40,805 (including buyer's premium).
The story was to feature an indecisive athlete called Pete, whose attempts to play different sports would all end in failure. The manuscript features some of Seuss' trademark rhymes such as:
"I could play baseball…golf..or catch. Or I could play a tennis match... Shall I play checkers? golf? croquet? There are so many games there are to play."
It also features notes and ideas from his assistant, who later contacted Dr Seuss (real name Theodor S. Geisel) in 1983 to propose submitting the book once again. In his reply Seuss stated:
"Re your enclosed manuscript, I do indeed remember it...What, in my opinion, is wrong with this story is that…despite the greatness of Pete as a stellar athlete hero…the negative image of him flubbing and unable to catch any ball at all will make him schnook...And I think the reader's reaction will be, 'What's the matter with this dope?'"
Although he felt it was unworthy of being finished, one collector certainly didn't agree with him and smashed the estimated price to get their hands on the never before seen work. The work is both a small piece of literary history and, as many experts have noted, an excellent investment.
As the majority of the late Geisel's manuscripts and notes are stored at the University of California (donated by his widow in 1992), the appearance on the market of the unfinished story is extremely rare. And his status as one of the world's best-loved children's authors, as well as his popularity amongst collectors, should see its value rise year after year, as new generations of children grow up with his stories.
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