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Buyers go Wilde for Oscar as short note to his friend sells for €1,500

THEY are certainly not the wittiest words he ever wrote but two short sentences penned by Oscar Wilde, top, have sold for more than €1,500.

The short note by the Irish playwright and novelist to his friend Arthur Clifton was auctioned among other Irish autographs and memorabilia in London and sold to an unidentified Irish collector.

With uncharacteristic banality, Wilde wrote "Monday with pleasure at 7.30. I must dress as I am going on elsewhere," before signing with his initials OW.

The note, accompanied by the original envelope hand-addressed by Wilde and sent from his address at Tite Street, Chelsea, on March 20, 1889, was expected to reach about half its eventual hammer price.

The auction, conducted by International Autograph Auctions from a Heathrow hotel, attracted interest from buyers worldwide.

Other items with an Irish interest included signatures of the explorer Ernest Shackleton, several autographs of Nobel Literature Laureate George Bernard Shaw, above, and a note by Samuel Beckett.

Almost all items went for well in excess of their estimates, according to auctioneer Richard Davie.

One of the highest selling items was a letter written by the French author Marcel Proust to a "dear Jacques".

The five-page letter was estimated to go for around €600 but eventually sold for €6,000.

Irish Independent