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Cormac McCarthy's $254,500 typewriter

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Cormac McCarthy's typewriter sold at auction today for 254,500 bones, more than 12 times the estimated cost of $15,000-$20,000. And the thing barely works!

Functionality isn't the point, of course: Provenance is. It's notable that McCarthy has written all of his 10 novels on this exact typewriter, including a National Book Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize winner. These days, many writers use computers -- but those don't last quite as long as McCarthy's machine, which he bought used in 1963.

And then there's timing: In 2008, the film version of McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" took four Oscars. And "The Road," which Oprah picked for her book club, became a film that began playing in theaters Thanksgiving weekend. 

Were the other items up for auction so well-positioned? Not quite so extravagantly. A rundown of those we drooled over this morning -- and their final prices -- follow.

"Tamerlane and Other Poems" by Edgar Allan Poe. Estimated cost: $500,000-$800,000. Sold for $662,500.

One of the first eight printed copies of "A Christmas Carol," inscribed by Dickens to a friend on Dec. 17, 1843. Estimated cost: $120,000-$180,000. Sold for $290,500.

A first edition of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," bound in green and gilt, printed for the author. Estimated cost: $80,000-$120,000. Sold for $218,500.

A first edition of "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin. Estimated cost: $80,000-$120,000. Sold for $146,500.

A first edition of Jane Austen's "Emma," published in three volumes. Estimated cost: $60,000-$80,00. Sold for $104,500. 

A first edition of "Pride and Prejudice" by Austen, in three volumes. Estimated cost: $40,000-$60,000. Sold for $52,500.

A first edition of "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë. Estimated cost: $40,000-$60,00. Sold for $40,000.

A first American edition of "Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville. Estimated cost: $25,000-$35,000. Sold for $32,500.

A first edition of Ernest Hemingway's first book "Three Stories and Ten Poems." Estimated cost: $15,000-$20,000. Sold for $30,000.

A first edition of Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark," inscribed by the author Charles Dodgson. Estimated cost. $20,000-$30,000. Sold for $21,250.

A first edition, first printing of "Walden: or, Life in the Woods" by Henry David Thoreau. Estimated cost: $7,000-$10,000. Sold for $20,000.

Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," first American edition. Estimated cost: $18,000-$24,000. Sold for $18,750.

Vladimir Nabokov's "Pale Fire," inscribed and with a butterfly hand-drawn and hand-colored by the author. Estimated cost: $8,000-$12,000. Sold for $13,750.

Two books: "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" and "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle, both first editions. Estimated cost: $4,000-$6,000. Sold for $9,375.

Elizabeth Barret Browning's "Poems," first edition, inscribed by the author to writer John Ruskin. Estimated cost: $4,000-$6,000. Sold for $7,500.

A first edition of William Faulkner's "Light in August," hardcover with dust jacket. Estimated cost: $1,000-$1,500. Sold for $4,750.

The original serialized version of Dickens' "Bleak House" in 20 parts. Estimated cost: $3,000-$4,000. Sold for $3,750.

After the jump: what didn't sell.

The original of  "The Original of Laura" by Vladimir Nabokov. Estimated cost: $400,000-$600,000. Not sold.

A first edition of James Joyce's "Ulysses," published by Shakespeare & Co. in Paris in 1922. Estimated cost: $200,000-$300,000. Not sold.

"The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club" inscribed by Charles Dickens to Hans Christen Andersen. $200,000-$300,000. Not sold.

A handwritten manuscript page from "The Pickwick Papers," edited and signed by Charles Dickens. Estimated cost: $90,000-$120,000. Not sold.

A first edition of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Estimated cost: $10,000-$15,000. Not sold.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Cormac McCarthy's typewriter. Credit: Christie's / Associated Press

 
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Didn't the original teletype roll of "ON THE ROAD" go for $2 million? The owner of the Indianapolis Colts bought it and was going to take it around the country, don't know if he ever got that far with it, but it sure looked farout under the glass at the Christie's auction house.....


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