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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 17:07 GMT
Beckett's letters fetch big price

A collection of letters and postcards written by Samuel Beckett has fetched 243,200 at an auction in London.

Signed by Sam in the Dubliner's spidery handwriting, Lot 95 had been expected to reach between 150,000-200,000.

The writings were sent to his friends, painters Henri and Josette Hayden, in which he writes in French about his health, family and works in progress.

Various early editions of some of his books and plays also sold at Sotheby's for more than 28,000 between them.

The correspondence, spanning over almost 40 years, have been described as the most important series of letters by the enigmatic writer.

Samuel Beckett
Beckett wrote to the couple over a period of 40 years
Their envelopes and postcards bear postmarks from Paris, Dublin, London, Berlin, Stuttgart and Ussy-sur-Marne.

Beckett met the Haydens in 1943 while they were taking refuge from the Gestapo in the village of Roussillon d'Apt in Vichy France.

After the Second World War, Beckett was awarded a croix de guerre medal for his work with the French Resistance.

Probably best known for his novel Waiting for Godot, other works include Krapp's Last Tape and More Pricks Than Kicks, of which early editions were sold in Thursday's auction.

Born in Dublin, he went to school at Portora in Enniskillen before attending Trinity College in his home city.

He wrote in English and French, and settled in Paris, where he died in 1989.

Interest in Beckett has been huge this year, the 100th anniversary of his birth, with major festivals celebrating his life and works staged in UK, Ireland, the US, Germany, France and Japan.

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