"It’s no question that that is something he would have wanted done," said the auctioneer
Fans of the celebrated American writer Truman Capote, the man behind ever popular titles like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, will soon be able to bid on a very unusual lot in an upcoming auction – the writer’s ashes, along with the urn containing them, are going up for sale.
The ashes are currently in possession of Beverly Hills auction house Julien’s. As per the lot guidebook, “The ashes of Truman Capote are house in a memorial Japanese carved wooden box. The ashes were kept by Joanne Carson, who was one of Capote’s closest friends. She often said the ashes brought her great comfort.”
The box is marked with a sign reading the date of Capote’s cremation, which took place on August 25th, 1984. Capote died at the age of 59 of liver disease, with American writer Gore Vidal saying at the time it was “a wise career move.”
Joanne Carson and Capote struck up a friendship when he agreed to edit a chapter of her memoirs in 1974, although she would later abandon the project. Upon his death, Carson took ownership of his ashes until her own death in May, 2015. The executor of her will was uncertain of what to do with the ashes, so decided to sell them.
A spokesperson for the auction house spoke highly about “the unprecedented and certainly extraordinary” nature of the lot. Speaking to Vanity Fair magazine, the auction house played down any ethical concerns of trading in human remains, saying that ashes do not present the same legal issues.
“I will say, Christie’s sold Napoleon’s penis years ago,” said CEO Darren Julien. “And we sold William Shatner’s kidney stone for $75,000. There’s all kinds of precedents for this. Like I said, if it wasn’t Truman Capote, we would pass because we wouldn’t want to be disrespectful. And the antics he was always up to, and how much he loved the press – it’s no question that that is something he would have wanted done.”