17 July 2009

Crockett & Wormser

My only vice is that I can't get enough Plath.

In the 14 July 2009, Sotheby's London auction of English Literature, History, Children's Books & Illustrations, there were several Plath items that both sold and failed to sell. The biggest money maker was a first edition of Sylvia Plath's The Colossus (Heinemann, 1960) for £17,500. The copy was signed and inscribed by Plath- on her birthday - to her high school English teacher, Wilbury Crockett. The lot included a Christmas card from 1960 with a note from Plath to Crockett.

Also at this sale were the following Plath items:
Two early manuscripts of Plath's, which sold for £5,000.
Illustrated typescript poem in the form of a handmade "get well" card, which sold for £4,000.
Early typescript poem in the form of song lyrics entitled "Class Song - 1950", which did not sell.
Plath's copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay's The King's Henchman: A Play in Three Acts, which did not sell.

The links includes images, too. I recommend clicking the enlarge and the using the zoom tool. These were the first Plath items sold at Sotheby's since 2006, when some of her original drawings were offered for sale. You can look at the list of Plath items sold by clicking here. Some amazing stuff, for sure. Makes one really wonder what else is out there... Thanks to Philobiblos for the heads up on the auction.

On a completely different note...The poet Baron Worsmer recently published a collection of short stories entitled The Poetry Life (Fort Lee, New Jersey: Cavankerry, 2008). Each of the ten stories are named after a poet. Plath is among them. The other poets are William Blake, William Carlos Williams, Elinor Wylie, John Berryman, Weldon Kees, Anne Sexton, Gregory Corso, Audre Lorde, and Joe Bolton. Thanks to Sarah for bringing this collection and story to our attention.


Julia said...

Very cool to be able to see this stuff --and yes, how much more is out there?

Peter K Steinberg said...

Julia, thanks for your comment. I agree. The poems she's writing at this time aren't as good as the illustrations (in my opinion), but together they are really interesting. That Sotheby's and other places are putting her stuff online like this is a wonderful thing.


Jenny Lerew said...

This reminds me of a day about 15 years ago, at a sort of rare ephemera show in nearby Glendale(I think it may have been one of the recurring "20th Century" shows they do around here-mostly rare books and paper items), One dealer had in his case a glassine package with, I kid you not, a small blonde curl, tied, with an accompanying handwritten note written by Aurelia, saying something to the effect that this was from Sylvia's haircut at age 5 or 6! I was familiar with Mrs. Plath's handwriting and it certainly looked authentic in every way(the age of the enevlope, a rusty bobby pin, bit of old ribbon etc).
The dealer was one in first editions otherwise; the lock of baby hair was the only thing remotely like that in his stall, and it was wildly priced. I think it was the real deal although heaven knows how/who obtained it from Aurelia. I would suspect she saved every scrap and toy related to her daughter and perhaps willed them to he son, if he's kept them.

As an artist myself and because she was also frankly pretty good at it I've yearned to have a chance at obtaining one of her drawings ...but anything to do with Plath is too dear for my pocketbook nowadays.

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