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Karl Marx 1879 letter stars at RR Auction


A rare 1879 letter from Karl Marx is selling at RR Auction.
In it Marx requests a copy of his book Revelations of the Diplomatic History of the 18th Century from his publisher Collet Dobson Collet

The letter is headed 41 Maitland Park Road, one of several addresses Marx lived at during his time in London (from 1850 until his death in 1883).

It reads: “On my return from the seaside I found your letter d’d 23 September. You will much oblige me by being so kind as to forward me some of the copies of the ‘Revelations,’ as I have none left.”

Letters from Marx to his supporters, particularly those concerning his writings, are extremely scarce. The record at auction is $678,000, set in 2014 for a letter concerning his masterwork Das Kapital and making reference to collaborator Friedrich Engels.

The present letter, despite its brevity, is already at $39,710 ahead of the March 7 close date.

The sale will also include a letter from Joseph Stalin, one of the most influential interpreters of Marx’s work. It’s worth noting that while Stalinism grew out of Marxism, experts suggest that Marx would have been horrified at the cruelty and violence of Stalin’s regime.

Stalin has annotated this typed letter by hand

This letter dates to December 25, 1941, whilst the Soviet Union was engaged in a bloody struggle with a German invasion force. At the time it was written, the vicious Russian winter had forced the Nazis into retreat. They would be back with a vengeance come the spring.

The text is offered without translation. Bidding is at $3,146. It’s likely to have particular appeal for collectors as it features extensive annotations from Stalin alongside the typed body of the text.


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