A Walk on the Wild Side
One of the most fascinating aspects of AbeBooks.co.uk is discovering the unusual literary items put up for sale by sellers around the world. Edith Wharton’s baby rattle takes some beating. Listed for sale in 2015, this was no ordinary rattle. Made from sterling silver, it contained a whistle, was engraved with the word ‘Edith’, had a red coral teething section, and was priced at £13,000.
In 2008, George Bernard Shaw’s Remington Noiseless Portable Typewriter was listed for sale. Imagine typing out a letter on that historic machine. Along the top edge of the guarantee in faded ink, Shaw had written the words ‘Bernard Shaw, Ayot St Lawrence, Welwyn Herts.”‘ Price, £7,000.
Truman Capote’s birth certificate is currently for sale at close to £29,000 but that’s relatively affordable compared to Jack Kerouac’s signed original painting of his brother, Gerard. Albert Einstein’s childhood building blocks are still very much usable, but would you want to build castles with something that costs more than £130,000?
John Updike’s senior class high school yearbook is just one of many yearbooks on AbeBooks featuring people of significance… before they were significant. There’s a Bolivian catechism from circa 1850 written on llama skin, a cheque signed by Edgar Rice Burroughs for a mere 50 cents, and many more highly unusual items that we don’t spot. Let’s just say, we are not going to talk about the time that Eugene O’Neill’s underpants were listed for sale.