BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A batch of letters handwritten by “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee to a friend has sold for more than $12,000.
A statement from the Los Angeles-based Nate D. Sanders Auctions says 38 letters from the deceased novelist to her late friend Felice Itzkoff went for $12,500 in a sale that ended Thursday night. The minimum bid was $10,000.
The letters span the period from December 2005 to May 2010 and include a note written on Jan. 20, 2009, the day Barack Obama was inaugurated as the nation’s first black president.
In the note, Lee referred to former President Lyndon B. Johnson and actor Gregory Peck, who portrayed small-town attorney Atticus Finch in the screen adaptation of “Mockingbird,” a story of racial injustice in the Jim Crow South.
“On this Inauguration Day I count my blessings … I’m also thinking of another friend, Greg Peck, who was a good friend of LBJ. Greg said to him, ‘Do you suppose we will live to see a black President?’ LBJ said, ‘No, but I wish her well,'” Lee wrote.
The auction company did not disclose the name of the purchaser.
The letters track years of correspondence between Lee and Itzkoff, a New York resident whom the author referred to as “Clipper,” short for “Yankee Clipper.” Itzkoff died in 2011.
In a Christmas card from 2009, Lee wrote: “Most-loved Clipper: Don’t know if you celebrate Christmas, but it makes not a jot of difference to me. I am at heart a heathen.”
Other letters talked about Lee’s Southern heritage and her father A.C. Lee, the model for Finch.
Lee died in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, in February 2016 about seven months after publishing “Go Set a Watchman,” a companion book to her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.