The Weirdest Things Your Literary Heroes Have Auctioned Off
If you don’t know who Mildred Wirt Benson is, don’t worry — you’re not alone. However, if you don’t know her most famous work, you may have been living under a rock for the past, oh, 80 years. Or you just skipped your entire adolescence. Benson wrote 23 of the original Nancy Drew novels under the pen name Carolyn Keene. And now, her personal effects are up for sale.
When Benson died, she left her belongings to her daughter, Peggy Wirt. When Peggy died in January, an auction was arranged in Ohio. The items auctioned seemed to garner higher bids the more intimate they were — cancelled checks written by Benson went for $900, while Rediscovering Nancy Drew, a book that details how the character and series were created, inscribed by Benson for her daughter, sold for $2,150. A set of 10 science-fiction books written by Andre Norton (with whom Benson had a “personal relationship”) pulled in the highest gavel price, at $3,200.
Celebrity auctions tend to be inevitably voyeuristic affairs. Remember Teresa Giudice’s foreclosure auction? If you didn’t spend at least a few minutes browsing her listings and contemplating bidding on a suit of armor, you’re a stronger person than I. Looked at one way, it’s a guilty pleasure to look over the banal contents of a person’s life, but looked at another, there could be some sentimental value there (well, maybe not for anything from Teresa Giudice, but you get the point).
With that being said, people who love books (and the authors that write them) have been known to bid on some items that make a suit of armor or a cancelled check look positively normal. Read on for some of the weirdest and most scandalous pieces of author memorabilia featured at auction. (And remember, no one will judge you if you consider bidding on a locket full of hair!)