“Man is an animal that diddles, and there is no animal that diddles but man.”
At Christies Auction House today in New York, an 1827 first edition copy of an Edgar Allan Poe poetry collection, Tamerlane and Other Poems, was sold for $662,500 -- the most ever for a 19th century book of poetry. The 40-page collection, and Poe’s very first publication, was inspired by the work of British poet Lord Byron. Only a dozen copies are known to exist of the fifty initially pressed. Oddly enough Poe did not attach his name to Tamerlane; the author is only indicated as "A Bostonian." Also sold at auction was a two-page, hand written manuscript containing the first 8 stanzas (of 16 stanzas) of "For Annie" ("Thank Heaven: the crisis --- the danger is past....") from 1849, written just months before his death at age 40. The manuscript, which was written for a one of Poe's loves, Nancy L. Richmond, far exceeded the $50,000-$70,000 estimate, netting a mind blowing $830,500 at auction, breaking the 19th century literary manuscript record.
The book and manuscript, both somewhat worn and wrinkled, came from the private library of television producer William E. Self (he was the executive in charge of production for such classic shows as Batman, Lost in Space, The Green Hornet, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, and Land of the Giants). Both pieces were sold to anonymous bidders.
“As for myself, I am simply Hop-Frog, the jester — and this is my last jest.”