Vintage photograph, handwritten letter by Karl Marx fetches $678,000 at auction

  • IANS, Beijing
  • Updated: Dec 18, 2014 15:09 IST

A handwritten letter by Karl Marx accompanied by a vintage photograph of the author of "Das Capital" sold for $678,000 at an auction in China, the China Daily newspaper reported.

According to the paper, the letter covers a single page in which Marx refers to fellow philosopher Friedrich Engels, his co-author on "The Communist Manifesto" and to the latter's wife.

He also mentions other progressive thinkers of the nineteenth century. The letter is dated June 1881, two years before Marx's death at the age of 63.

The paper noted that documents from the final period of Marx's life tend to be scarce, because his health had deteriorated so badly.

However, at an auction that took place last July in Shanghai, another original Karl Marx letter failed to fetch the $1.34 million minimum that was required to open the bidding.

In the photograph, the German philosopher appears with long grey hair and beard, wearing a dark suit and white shirt on which hangs a monocle that he is wearing around his neck, while he rests his right arm on a table.

The letter has been published in the Chinese version of the Complete Works of Marx and Engels and in a Russian monograph on the thinker, the China Daily said.

The auction was held at the Xiling Yinshe Auction Hall, which specialises in original documents of the Communist pioneers, in the city of Hangzhou in eatern Zhejiang province.

In China, studying the works of Karl Marx and the Marxist ideology they engendered are compulsory in secondary and university education, as they are considered the intellectual backbone of the Communist regime that came to power in China in 1949.

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