Emily Dickinson

“They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight; a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.

Though her poems went without much recognition during her lifetime, today the work of Emily Dickinson is a celebrated influence in the field of American poetry. Dickinson wrote nearly 1,800 poems over the course of several years, with her unconventional style making her work stand out from the rest. Along with exploring topics of nature and society, Dickinson’s poems were highlighted by a recurring theme of death and immortality. Since autographic material from the famed poet is few and far between, Emily Dickinson memorabilia always catches the attention of our enthusiastic bidders.

Dickinson's poem "Santa Claus comes with a Smile and a Tear."
Dickinson’s poem “Santa Claus comes with a Smile and a Tear.”
This lot was accompanied by a custom red leather case decorated with gold detailing.
This lot was accompanied by a custom red leather case decorated with gold detailing.

Dickinson pieces have seen major success at RR Auction – especially her poems. A first for RR, we featured one of Dickinson’s poems in our September 2020 Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction. This poem, “Santa Claus comes with a Smile and a Tear,” was written as a letter to Adelaide Hills, likely around Christmas 1883. This ‘letter-poem’ was published as No. 877 in Thomas H. Johnson’s collection entitled The Letter of Emily Dickinson, which first saw publication in 1958. The original manuscript for this poem had been lost for quite some time before it resurfaced in 1995, and wasn’t offered by RR Auction until September 2020. 

Dickinson's poem "I came to buy a smile–today–."
Dickinson's poem "I came to buy a smile–today–."
Dickinson’s poem “I came to buy a smile–today–.” This poem was collected as no. F258 in the Franklin Variorum edition of The Poems of Emily Dickinson.

An exceedingly rare handwritten copy of Dickinson’s poem “I came to buy a smile–today–” Written sometime in 1861, this incredible poem is entirely written in her slanted handwriting and signed at the bottom of the page, “Emily.” There are two known copies of this Dickinson poem – with the other being an unsigned variant. This letter’s recipient was Samuel Bowles, owner and editor-in-chief of the Springfield Republican and a family friend of the Dickinson family. Originally slated with a $50,000 estimate, our consignor was thrilled that we exceeded that expectation – selling the poem for $61,875. 

With RR Auction’s expertise and team of professionals, your Emily Dickinson pieces will sell for premium prices. Give us a call at 800-937-3880 or click our consign button below to get a free appraisal for your pieces today!

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