J.D. Salinger note listed on EBay at $50,000, but is it worth it?

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J.D. Salinger certainly left the world hungry for more of his writing, but is a one-sentence note scribbled to a maid really worth $50,000? A company called History Direct seems to hope so. It’s listed a letter written by the beloved 20th century writer on EBay for a whopping 50 grand.

Reclusive and unprolific, Salinger published just four books and fewer than two dozen short stories by the time he died last year at the age of 91.


The note, dated March 12, 1989, reads:

Dear Mary—

Please make sure all the errands are done before you leave on vacation, as I do not want to be bothered with insignificant things.

Thank You,

J.D. Salinger

The description of the note in the EBay listing pumps it up a bit: ‘Exceedingly rare handwritten letter, instructions to his maid, signed by Salinger in 1989. Items autographed by the reclusive Salinger are very seldom offered for sale! He tells her that before she leaves for her vacation she should do all her errands so that he would not have to be bothered with those activities, thanking her in advance.’

That makes it sound a bit more impressive. (It also displays some of Salinger’s trademark attitude).

But if you were considering placing a bid on this note, which is written on monogrammed paper, rare-book seller Ralph Sipper suggests you hang on to your cash.

‘It is ridiculously overpriced,’ he said from his office in Santa Barbara. ‘I think $5,000 is a lot closer to the truth than $50,000.’

Asked if he thought anyone would actually consider purchasing the note for $50,000 he responded: ‘Anything is possible. All I can tell you is I wouldn’t buy it.’



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