November 2018 Auction Ends Thursday, November 8th, 5pm Pacific
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/8/2018
Exceptional Ernest Hemingway autograph letter and signed envelope, one day after catching the 500 lb. marlin in Bimini that inspired ''The Old Man and the Sea'', apocryphal until this letter which documents for the first time in Hemingway's own words not only the size of the marlin, but also its attack by sharks, similar to the plot of Hemingway's novel. Letter is accompanied by a photo of Hemingway and his friend, Henry Strater, with the half-eaten marlin. Dated 8 May (identified as 1935 by the "Hemingway Letters Project"), Hemingway writes to Erl Roman, the fishing editor of the ''Miami Herald'', describing the catch in detail, the attack by the sharks, and also mentioning that he is sending some photos to Roman. Letter in pencil reads in full,

''Will make this very short on acct. Bill Fagen leaving May 8 / Dear Erl: Yesterday May 7 Henry H. STRATER, widely known painter of OGUNQUIT Maine, Pres. Maine Tuna Club, fishing with me on Pilar landed Blue Marlin which weighed 500 lbs on tested scales after all of meat below anal fin had been torn away by sharks when fish was brought to gaff-- Had him ready to take in when sharks hit him-- Fish 12 feet 8 1/2 inches-- Tail 48 inch spread--girth 62 in. (will send all other exact measurements when have chance to use Steel tape on him). Fish hooked off Bimini, hooked in corner of mouth, never layted, jumped 18 times clear, brought to boat in an hour such a heavy fish jumped hell out of himself. We worked him fast our system. Had him at boat when shark hit him. Strater has football knee, went out of joint, had hell with it, we wouldnt handline fish, he got him up himself, in one hour 40 minutes, we got him over the roller after Some lifting boy, all blood drained, meat gone below anal fin to tail, but fish completely intact, Fred Parke is mounting it--

Had two buckets full of meat that knocked off but wouldnt weigh it as didnt want try to beat Tommys record with any conniving.

Fish would have weighed between 700 and 900-- He weighed 500 before 20 some witnesses. We could have brought him plenty up above that by weighing the loose meat. Same day I landed 128 lb. white marlin on light outfit and a 68 lb. white marlin--

Straters fish on 12-0 Vom Hofe--Vom Hofe 20 oz Hickory tip--39 thread--strip dolphin belly, 15 foot cable-- 11/0 Pflueger Sobey hook--

One other boat caught fish--Bill Fagen-- Fish was hit by shark same way as the record Zane Grey 1040 lb. fish was--with 6 minutes more would have had him--was reaching for leader when they hit him.

Dont know anything more this morning except I would trade you this hangover for any reasonable offer.--

On board boat 1 Strater, Dr. McCullough (Bill has his initials) me, Albert Pinder, Key West, and Hamilton Adams, Key West.

Please Copyright any and all Pics in my name-- Take best one out of pack I'm sending for the Paper-- Please Send all back by Bill Fagen on Sunday.

Have tropical camera place do 2 of each and send prints and negatives by Bill-- $500 enclosed for expenses-- Will Pay Bill if costs more--''

Two page autograph letter is accompanied by an envelope signed in pencil, addressed in Hemingway's hand to ''Erl Roman Esq. / Miami Herald / Miami / Fla.'' and signed by Hemingway on the verso, ''E. Hemingway / Yacht Pilar / Bimini / B.W.I.''

Importantly, Hemingway's account of the marlin catch differs from other anecdotal stories of it, one of which describes Hemingway using a ''machine gun'' on the shark, which purportedly attracted more sharks to the feeding frenzy. It's likely Hemingway left out this detail, as Strater would blame its use on attracting more sharks to the marlin, depriving Strater of a world record marlin catch. "Old Man and the Sea" has been noted by Hemingway scholars as most likely inspired by this particular 7 May 1935 trip, including Michael Culver in his biography "Sparring in the Dark: Hemingway, Strater and The Old Man and the Sea".

Letter measures 8.5'' x 11'', envelope measures approximately 6.25'' x 3.625'' and photo, which is a modern reproduction, measures 7.75'' x 9.75''. Letter is uniformly toned with some chipping along edges, and small piece of tape at very top. Envelope has some foxing and torn edge from opening. Both items are in very good condition. A remarkable letter in Hemingway's own words of a legendary fishing adventure that inspired one of his most popular, Pulitzer-Prize winning novels.
Ernest Hemingway Autograph Letter & Signed Envelope, Documenting the Legendary Marlin That Inspired ''The Old Man and the Sea'' -- ''...landed Blue Marlin which weighed 500 lbs...sharks hit him...''Ernest Hemingway Autograph Letter & Signed Envelope, Documenting the Legendary Marlin That Inspired ''The Old Man and the Sea'' -- ''...landed Blue Marlin which weighed 500 lbs...sharks hit him...''Ernest Hemingway Autograph Letter & Signed Envelope, Documenting the Legendary Marlin That Inspired ''The Old Man and the Sea'' -- ''...landed Blue Marlin which weighed 500 lbs...sharks hit him...''Ernest Hemingway Autograph Letter & Signed Envelope, Documenting the Legendary Marlin That Inspired ''The Old Man and the Sea'' -- ''...landed Blue Marlin which weighed 500 lbs...sharks hit him...''
Ernest Hemingway Autograph Letter & Signed Envelope, Documenting the Legendary Marlin That Inspired ''The Old Man and the Sea'' -- ''...landed Blue Marlin which weighed 500 lbs...sharks hit him...''
Ernest Hemingway Autograph Letter & Signed Envelope, Documenting the Legendary Marlin That Inspired ''The Old Man and the Sea'' -- ''...landed Blue Marlin which weighed 500 lbs...sharks hit him...''
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Minimum Bid: $28,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $28,000
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Thursday, November 8, 2018.
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