Saturday 22 October 2016

George Bernard Shaw stamped angrily over wasted postage

Published 17/04/2016 | 02:30

George Bernard Shaw. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
George Bernard Shaw. (Part of the NPA/Independent Collection)
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT: George Bernard Shaw scolded a friend in the letter for splashing out on a penny stamp

He may have been one of the richest playwrights of his era but George Bernard Shaw never forgot his frugal Irish roots.

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Although he had enormous success with Pygmalion and other plays, he wrote to Mrs Geoff Shaw from Foxrock, Dublin in 1920, giving out to her for using a penny stamp on a letter, when a halfpenny stamp would do.

"This shows an extravagant disposition," he writes, adding that "the flap of the envelope is tucked in unlicked" for the cheaper rate.

He was 64 at the time.

Now the letter, minus unlicked flap, is going on sale at the International Autograph Auction in the Puento Romano, Marbella, Spain next Saturday, with a guide of between £260 and £400 (€500).

The sale also includes letters penned by other literary greats, including Noel Coward, who wrote from New York in 1958, inviting his friend J J Shubert "to pop in and see me at the Belasco before we close on Saturday".

Sunday Independent

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