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£7,400 paid for Dickens' rare letter
12:00pm Thursday 4th October 2012 in News
A PREVIOUSLY unknown letter written by Charles Dickens has sold for £7,400 – more than double the figure it was expected to fetch at auction.
The letter, which was found tucked between the pages of a small paperback Bible in Blockley after a spring clean, was only expected to reach about £3,000 when it went under the hammer last Thursday at Fraser’s Autographs in London.
But the letter, which is addressed to Dickens’ solicitor, Frederick Ouvry, and discusses arrangements for divorce from his wife, Catherine, caused such a stir due to its personal nature, it smashed the original estimate.
The item went to a private collector from Canada who specialises in Dickens’ memorabilia.
Ania Polyniak, manager at Frasers’ Autographs of London, said there was a lot of interest from people in the UK and also international bidders from countries including the USA and Canada.
“This was a previously unknown and unpublished letter,” she said.
“It was quite personal so obviously for a collector this is something they would not have been able to get their hands on before. It’s got an interesting story that helped to sell the item.
We are very pleased.”
Mystery surrounds how the signed correspondence came to be in Blockley but the Bible was among a batch of books given to village resident Dr Jackie Sheehan by an elderly neighbour who then moved to a residential home.
In May 1858, a bracelet that Dickens bought as a present for the teenage actress Ellen Ternan was accidentally delivered to his house and was discovered by his wife. They separated the following month.
Anyone with information on how the letter came to Blockley can contact Journal reporter Freya Leng on 01905 742383.