Mark Twain’s Handwritten ‘Last Manuscript’ at Heritage Auctions, Oct. 16-17

October 12, 2009

DALLAS, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ — Mark Twain’s “Last Manuscript,” by turns humorous, and personal, anchors Heritage Auctions’ Historical Manuscripts Auction, Oct. 16-17. The two single page manuscripts on adjoining sheets were written by Twain for the daughter of his host family in Bermuda, where he spent the last months of his life. It is estimated at $12,000 – $15,000.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091012/DA90854)

The first manuscript, March 6, 1910, is a humorous device created in playful response to his hosts:

Bay House, March 6/10,” It reads. “Received of S.L.C. / Two Dollars and Forty Cents / in return for my promise to believe everything he says hereafter.”

Helen Allen has signed her name in full beneath acknowledging the payment received. The payment of $2.40, as comically intended, made it a binding legal agreement.

“The legendary writer was now free to tell his most outlandish stories,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions, “and Ms. Allen was now ‘legally bound’ to believe him.”

The second manuscript was written almost certainly between April 8 and 11, 1910, only 10 days before Twain died, and just before he left Bermuda in failing health.

It reads, in full: “For Sale. The proprietor of the hereinbeforementioned Promise desires to part with it on account of ill health and obliged to go away somewheres so as to let it reciprocate, and will take any reasonable amount for it above 2 per cent of its face because experienced parties think it will not keep but a little while in this kind of weather, and is a kind of proppity that don’t give a dam for cold storage nohow.

Twain cites his “ill health” as the reason for his forced departure from Bermuda. After suffering a severe heart attack, his doctors inform him that he has to leave Bermuda or he will die there. In his final line he declares that he does not want to die, “a kind of proppity that don’t give a dam for cold storage nohow.

Twain likely returned the handwritten “promise” to Helen as a keepsake.

Heritage Auctions, co-founded by Steve Ivy and Jim Halperin, is the world’s third largest auctioneer, and the largest auctioneer of rare collectibles, with annual sales exceeding $700 million, and 450,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information go to www.HA.com.

Follow Heritage Auctions at: www.Twitter.com/HeritagePress; www.Twitter.com/JimHalperin;

SOURCE Heritage Auctions

Source: newswire

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