The rare example of Anne Frank’s handwriting was sold at an auction in The Netherlands for four times its estimate. The auction house’s co-director, Thijs Blankevoort, said that “over the last 40 years, only four or five documents signed by the teenager have gone under the hammer.”
Frank is famous for the diary that she kept while in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The family was captured in 1944 and she died in the Bergen-Belsen camp before her father later released the diary in 1947.
The eight-line poem was written in black ink on a notebook-sized piece of paper and was sent to a friend of Anne’s in March 1942, three months before Anne and her family went into hiding to escape the Nazi.
Due to the rarity of a handwritten original, interest in the lot was high with 20 bidders in the room and a number of online and telephone bidders. The sale was concluded within 2 minutes and the reserve price of €30,000 was quickly left behind as bidding soared up to €140,000.
The poem was addressed “Dear Cri-cri”, whose real name was Christiane van Maarsen and is signed “In memory, from Anne Frank”. Van Maarsen died in 2006 and her younger sister Jacqueline, who also owns a personal poem from Frank, put the lot into auction.
This isn’t the first time that Anne Frank letters have been sold at auction, in 1988 a series of letters between Anne, her sister Margot and their American pen pals sold for over £130,000. In May 2016, a Grimm’s fairy tales book with both of the sister’s names written in sold at an auction in New York for just over £40,000.
Anne’s diary is still widely used to teach schoolchildren about the Holocaust and the original is on display in Amsterdam at Anne Frank House, which attracted over 1 million visitors last year.