One of the most important literary relics of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway’s fully documented typewriter, on which he typed his last book, is being offered by auctioneer Profiles In History in its Rare Books & Manuscripts sale, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. It is estimated to sell for $60,000 - $80,000.
The Halda Swedish-made typewriter is fully functional and comes with its original leatherette case exhibiting somewhat tattered transportation stickers from the American Export Line and the French Line. Both have crucial identification in an unknown hand, marked “E. Hemi...” on the American Export Line sticker, and “Hemingway” with destination of “Le Hav...” on the French Line sticker, each torn and scuffed from extensive travel. The typewriter was obtained from famed author A. E. Hotchner, Hemingway's close friend, who wrote the definitive biography, Papa Hemingway.
Hotchner obtained the typewriter from the heirs of well-known Hemingway friend Bill Davis, Teo and Nena Davis. Bill Davis maintained a house in Malaga, Spain where Hemingway lived in 1959. Author Hotchner indicated in a private interview that he was there with Hemingway in that year when he was typing portions of The Dangerous Summer, on this very typewriter during 1959-1960. During this period, Hemingway was working on the final draft of his Paris memoirs from the 1920s which would later become A Moveable Feast, so it is quite possible this typewriter was used in creating that work as well. The typewriter is accompanied by a signed letter of provenance from Nena Davis, who witnessed Hemingway using this typewriter while writing The Dangerous Summer, his non-fiction account of the rivalry between bullfighters Luis Miguel Dominguín and his brother-in-law, Antonio Ordóñez, during the "dangerous summer" of 1959.
This typewriter was last seen in the marketplace in 2009 when it was offered by John Reznikoff's University Archives for $100,000.
For perspective, in 2009 Christie’s-New York sold author Cormac McCarthy’s typewriter, used to compose his novels, for the extraordinary sum of $254,500. Had this Hemingway typewriter been used to write The Sun Also Rises its estimate would surely exceed that quarter million dollar price.
Below, Reznikoff talks about this typewriter and demonstrates its functionality.
Images courtesy of Profiles In History, with our thanks.
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