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June 1-15, 2004 Edition
for $1.7 million
LONDON/05/23/04A collection of letters, papers, and manuscripts by Arthur Conan Coyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, has been sold to a private collector for $1.7 million, according to Christie’s, which negotiated the sale. The collection had been kept in a lawyer’s office for 25 years while its authenticity and fate were debated.
Many of the items added important information to the life of Conan Doyle. The author died in 1990. A number of items were bought by Bernard Quaritch, a London-based specialist bookseller who may have been representing unidentified private collectors. Other items went to Conan Doyle collectors and enthusiasts from the United States. Family heirs hoped the material would be bought by museums rather than private collectors who might not share information with academics. But no public bids were forthcoming.
Glen Miranker, chief technical officer for Apple Computers, and Dr. Constantine Rossakis, a New Jersey cardiologist were among U.S. collectors who won bids on some of the items.
Items that drew high prices included a collection of notebooks containing early ideas for books (sold for $249,000), a group of letters between Conan Doyle and his literary agent (which sold for $96,000), and a collection of family letters, which brought $128,000.