An auction of the possessions of late poet Sylvia Plath brought in a seven-figure sum on Wednesday, marking the first time that many items, including Plath’s wedding ring and intimate love letters, had ever been auctioned off. .
The lot of nearly 50 added parts over a million dollars excluding hammer fees when the auction ended Wednesday afternoon in London, according to auction house Sotheby’s.
The items were sold by Frieda Hughes, daughter of Plath and poet Ted Hughes.
$ 206,886. How much is the most expensive item in the neighborhood, a French game Tarot cards which belonged to Plath, recovered, excluding hammer costs. Hughes introduced Plath to the occult tradition that influenced Plath’s work, such as his poem from 1960 The hanged man. Based on the letters written by Plath which were also auctioned off on Wednesday, experts believe Hughes gave the tarot cards to Plath as a 24 year old gift.
Plath is remembered for his somber poetry and candid portrayal of mental illness in his near-autobiographical work, including the novel The bell. Plath was born in 1932 in Boston, but spent much of her life in England after moving there in 1955 to attend Cambridge University as a Fulbright scholar. Plath met Hughes at a party in Cambridge and they were married just four months later in London on June 16, 1956. After six years of marriage, Hughes began an affair with a family friend and the couple separated in 1962. Barely seven months later, Plath committed suicide in the house she shared with her two children in London. Between his separation from Hughes and his death at age 30, Plath wrote much of the work that would become his most popular after its posthumous publication, such as Ariel, a collection of poems dealing with mental illness.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call National lifeline for suicide prevention at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741-741.