Johnny Carson's ex-wife previously owned the ashes
An anonymous collector purchased the ashes
More than 30 years after Truman Capote’s death, fans of the famed author were able to get their hands on his personal items – and his ashes.
Originally owned by Johnny Carson’s ex-wife – and Capote’s best friend – Joanne Carson, the ashes were auctioned off by Julien’s Auctions on Saturday in Los Angeles.
At the time of Capote’s death in 1984, the portion of his ashes that Joanne inherited was valued at as much as $6,000. The auction house sold the ashes Saturday for $45,000.
“We had people from Russia, Germany, China, South America and here in the US who had interest in them,” President and Chief Executive Darren Julien said. “I anticipated it could sell for over $10,000, but didn’t anticipate it going to $45,000.”
The remains are sealed in a carved Japanese wooden box and will be presented in its original cemetery packaging from Westwood Village Mortuary.
Truman Capote, a famous American writer and novelist, was born in New Orleans in 1924. His two most famous works, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1958) and “In Cold Blood” (1966), solidified his place among the great American authors of the 20th century.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was turned into the famous movie starring Audrey Hepburn. Capote died in Los Angeles in 1984.
Carson, before her death last year, noted that “having Capote’s ashes brought her great comfort,” according to the auction house. Capote died in her home, according to Julien.
“He asked Joanne Carson before he passed. He told her he didn’t want to sit on a shelf,” Julien said. “This is definitely right in line with his wishes.”
Julien said this is the first time in public record that someone’s ashes have been sold at auction. “If it wasn’t for it being Truman Capote, it would have been disrespectful,” he said.
In addition to Capote’s ashes, various personal items of the author were also sold.
Among them were shirts and trousers, ice skates, various books and the shirt he wore the day he died. About 50 of Capote’s personal items from Joanne Carson’s estate were sold with prices ranging from $50 to $2,000, according to the auction house.
A set of Capote’s prescription bottles sold for $5,000.
The buyer of his ashes is a collector that wishes to remain anonymous, according to Julien.
“They promise that Truman will continue his adventures,” he said.