(AP/Amy Sancetta)

Asking price for single Salinger sentence: $50,000

The famously private writer's short, polite note to his maid is available (for a considerable fee) on eBay


Emma Mustich
September 13, 2011 11:14PM (UTC)

Reuters reports today that a polite but laconic one-sentence letter from J.D. Salinger to his maid is currently listed on eBay with a $50,000 price tag. As the New York Times' Dave Itzkoff wryly notes, that's "about $2,083.33 a word" -- no small sum for a glorified kitchen-counter memo (albeit one left behind by an iconic literary hermit).

Other historical items listed on eBay by the same dealer are are even more expensive. Among them is a note ostensibly sent by Herman Melville to his publisher, George P. Putnam, which reads only, "Dear Sir: Re-enclosed is the proof. Very truly yours, H Melville." It can be yours for $95,000 -- plus $19 shipping and handling.

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If your tastes run more to the political, a document described as bearing George Washington's signature can be obtained for $150,000; a telegram "signed and annotated" by Lenin in 1921 is available for the slightly lower fee of $110,000.

By these standards, seller History for Sale's less expensive items -- such as this autographed note from Wolf Blitzer, advertised at $69 -- are downright affordable.


Emma Mustich

Emma Mustich is a Salon contributor. Follow her on Twitter: @emustich.

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