Kafka’s Passport at Auction

Coming to auction next week is Franz Kafka’s signed Czechoslovak passport. The author was born in Prague in 1883. This 32-page booklet with various manuscript notes and stamps, though lacking his passport photo, was used during the last two years of his life as he traveled in Germany and Austria, where he died in 1924.

The passport is “hitherto an unknown survival,” notes Bonhams. It is likely that Kafka left it to his friend Robert Klopstock, known to be at the author’s bedside when he died. Klopstock then gave the passport to Kafka’s publisher, Salman Schocken, who collected Kafka’s papers. Schocken then passed it to Gerda Schulz, a fellow Jewish refugee and former employee, whose family has now consigned it to auction.

Bonhams estimates the passport will bring $10,000-15,000 when it goes to auction in New York on September 22.

Image via Bonhams.

Browse related collectible books:

First editions from Franz Kafka

Passports and other Ephemera

Reprinted with permission from Fine Books & Collections, Rebecca Rego Barry author

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Why Lewis Carroll Hated Signing Books

Lewis Carroll letter first page

Poor Lewis Carroll detested the fame that his “Alice” books brought him. In a letter written to a friend, Mrs. Symonds, in 1891, he explains how he hates signing autographs or having his letters put into autograph books. “All that sort of publicity leads to strangers hearing of my real name in connection with the books, and to my being pointed out to, and stared at by, strangers, and treated as a ‘lion.’ And I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish I had never written any books at all.” That vituperative letter from a man best known as a children’s author will be sold at Bonhams London on March 19. The auction estimate is £3,000-4,000 ($5,000-6,700).

According to Bonhams, the shy Carroll (real name: Charles Dodgson) added insult to injury by printing something called The Stranger Circular, which he sent to would-be collectors with the message that Mr. Dodgson bluntly refused to have anything to do with books published under another name, i.e. Carroll.

 

View fine copies and first editions of Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”

View all uncommonly good titles from Lewis Carroll

Reprinted with permission from Fine Books & Collections, Author: Rebecca Rego Barry, Image credit: Bonhams

Rare Finds are a special feature from Biblio and the wonderful writers at Fine Books & Collections. Visit their site to see more about the rare book trade.