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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 14:40 GMT
Salinger's letters fail to sell
Salinger
The author has sought total anonymity for decades
A collection of letters written by by Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger to his daughter has failed to sell at auction.

The letters were exchanged between the reclusive author and his daughter Margaret "Peggy" Salinger over a 35 year period.

The sale at Sotheby's in New York had expected to reach up to $350,000 (242,284) for the letters, which may have provided a rare insight into the mind of the Catcher in the Rye writer.

But bidding stopped at $170,000 (117,681) and the collection was taken off the market because it did not meet the seller's undisclosed minimum price.

Letter
The correspondence started in 1958
Sotheby's spokesman Matthew Weigman said: "There had been interest at the time of exhibition, collectors had made appointments to see them.

"But when the big moment comes, if they're in the room and no hands go up, they may feel like they could get a better price at a private sale."

He added that the 43 pages of correspondence, including notes written on hotel stationery and postcards from New York and London, may be sold privately.

Salinger has not spoken in public or written a book since 1965, which has led to the mystery and intrigue surrounding his life.

Privacy

The 82-year-old lives in Cornish, New Hampshire, in the US, with his third wife.

Ms Salinger put the letters up for sale a year after writing a warts-and-all autobiography entitled Dream Catcher: A Memoir.

The first letter was written to her in 1958 when she was just two and continued until 1992.

In 1999 a collection of letters written to Salinger's lover Joyce Maynard were sold for $154,000 (106,000).

They were bought by a philanthropist who was keen to return them to Salinger in order to maintain his privacy.

Sotheby's said the new correspondence "spoke more in the voice of the author" than the first set and so deserved to fetch more.

Ms Salinger did not attend the auction.

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