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William Faulkner's Nobel prize, papers come to auction

William Faulkner's family is auctioning off personal items that belonged to the author, including his Nobel medal, a handwritten volume of poetry he wrote for his wife, and some of his manuscripts.

By Staff Writer / April 11, 2013

Items being sold include Faulkner's Nobel medal and some of his manuscripts.

Sotheby's/AP

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Personal items that belonged to literary great William Faulkner are being auctioned off. These include the Nobel Prize for literature the author won in 1949.

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The Nobel medal, which is being auctioned with a draft of Faulkner’s acceptance speech, will be available for bidding at legendary auction house Sotheby’s in New York in June. The auction house estimated the medal and speech would fetch between $500,000 and $1 million.

Also being auctioned are Faulkner items such as manuscripts of some of his stories, including “The Trapper Story” and “Mammy Callie,” as well as multiple leather-bound copies of his books, letters written by Faulkner to various correspondents, and a book of poetry Faulkner hand-wrote for his wife.

The items are being auctioned off by Faulkner’s heirs, but the family has not spoken about why they decided to sell them.

“This auction is for people who are serious about modern literature," Justin Caldwell, a Sotheby’s books specialist, told the Associated Press. "This is not something they are going to see very often… this much Faulkner material in the same place.”

The selling of the Nobel medal is something that does not occur often. In 1976, an anonymous seller placed an ad in the Los Angeles Times, offering a Nobel Prize medal for at least $15,000. A spokesperson for the Swedish embassy stated at the time that it was the first medal being sold he’d ever heard of. In 1985, the medal of Sir William Cremer, who had won the prize in 1903, was sold at an auction for more than $40,000.

In addition, by an odd coincidence, today – the same day that the news that Faulkner's medal would be sold was made public – the family of scientist Francis Crick announced the sale of Crick’s Nobel medal, which he won in 1962, for $2 million.

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