A Bunch of John Steinbeck’s Stuff Is Going Up for Auction
From an OG Grapes of Wrath dust jacket to assorted wine paraphernalia
People love paying a lot of money to own things that once belonged to dead people, especially when the dead person in question is a famous stranger. If that’s your thing, I’m happy to report that 40 items once owned by noted dead stranger John Steinbeck are being offered in an online auction this month.
As Lit Hub reported, a wide range of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s possession are being offered online by Heritage Auctions. Steinbeck, perhaps best known for the 1940 novel The Grapes of Wrath, died more than 50 years ago, leaving behind an array of personal keepsakes fans and members of the literary elite can bid for until the end of the month. According to Lit Hub, the items had been collecting dust in an Upper East Side storage unit since the 2003 death of Steinbeck’s third wife, Elaine.
Now the assorted objects and memorabilia are getting a second chance at life. The item expected to bring in the biggest haul is the “warm-up journal” Steinbeck used from 1946 to 1947. Steinbeck used the journal to warm up before beginning serious writing projects, and the notebook is reportedly filled with personal details describing the writer’s goals, failures and raw emotions. The one-third full notebook is valued at $20,000-plus.
Other items related specifically to the author’s literary career include a typescript of Steinbeck’s 1935 novel, Tortilla Flat, valued at around $5,000; an archive of news clippings, letters, invitations and event programs Steinbeck collected related to his 1962 Nobel Prize, currently bidding at a bargain price in the low three-figures; and the printer’s proof of the jacket for the 1939 first edition of The Grapes of Wrath, valued at around $1,000.
For the less literary focused, the auction is also offering various other objects and belongings from the author’s life, including a family photo album, a letter from Jackie Kennedy, and a variety of elaborate drinkware so you can imbibe like it’s 1939.
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