Salinger letters bring $156,500 at auction
June 22, 1999
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A set of 14 letters written more than a quarter century ago by the reclusive writer J.D. Salinger to a young woman who became his lover sold for $156,500 at a Sotheby's auction Tuesday -- nearly double what they were expected to fetch.
California philanthropist Peter Norton, who bought the letters, said he plans to return them to Salinger, a Sotheby's spokesman told CNN.
Salinger wrote the letters to Joyce Maynard, who was 18 years old in 1972 when she started a correspondence, then a love affair, with the author of "The Catcher in the Rye."
In the letters, Salinger writes about his life, the importance of writing and the dangers of fame.
And, although Maynard owned the letters and was able to sell them, Salinger won a court case to make sure their contents may not be published.
The winning bid was about twice the $60,000 to $80,000 the letters were expected to fetch. It includes a fee of about $16,000 which the buyer pays to the auction house.
The auction featured rare books and manuscripts, including a letter written on July 1, 1776, by John Adams, the second president of the United States. That item brought the auction's highest price -- $635,000.
An English bible from 1611 sold for $343,500. And a 1944 letter from Marilyn Monroe to her legal guardian, which was signed "Norma Jean," sold for $13,000.
Cezanne, Seurat paintings fetch more than $95 million at auction
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