Jane Austen Appeal

July 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm (history, jane austen, news) (, , , )


A friend in the UK sent me a newspaper clipping. Honestly, it had me shaking my head – not up-and-down, but side-to-side.

I have always been frugal; never more so than now. But am I the only one who grows a bit disgusted at the prices some items fetch? The newest is a letter – not a new discovery, but on the market – written by Cassandra Austen, to her niece Fanny Knight, about the death of Jane Austen.

cassandra Austen silhouette

The “asking” price is £30,000!

Surely, in the UK, that must buy a CAR (and a pretty nice one, I would think); it used to buy a house.

I work with letters exactly like this. I’ve even handled a couple written by Cassandra Austen. Such exorbitant pricing means this is one letter that will NEVER turn up in a pile of letters at the Hampshire Record Office. Where does the insanity end?

The email, with the newspaper clipping, came yesterday – and I was still thinking about this today. Wouldn’t it have been nice for the owner to donate the letter?

I’m glad the museum seems on target for their goal. No one knows better than me the angst of something that you’re so close to having – and then some glitch and … zip … someone ELSE gets to call it theirs (long story). But there’s also greed – which leaves me, as I began, shaking my head.

cassandra letter

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2 Comments

  1. ronalddunning said,

    What I understand is that the seller got an estimate of the value if the letter had been sold at auction, then offered it as a private sale directly to the museum. It’s always possible that it would sell at auction for a much higher price. As you say, it’s a shame that it couldn’t just have been donated. The circumstances of the letter do make it worth the appeal by the museum.

    Ron

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      I’m sure the auction price could have gone thru the roof. It’s the whole thing that I find … I hate to over-use the same word: distasteful. History, only available to the wealthy. It always was the case, but prices nowadays seem even MORE out of line with reality. k

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