Bob Dylan’s collection of love letters sells for $670K at auction

A collection of touching and sometimes prescient personal letters written by a young person Bob Dylan to a high school sweetheart has been sold at auction to a famous Portuguese bookstore for nearly $670,000.

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Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal, which calls itself “the world’s most beautiful bookstore,” plans to keep the archive of 42 handwritten letters totaling 150 pages complete and available for Dylan fans and scholars to study, auctioneer RR Auction said in a statement Friday. (Nov. 18).

A native of Hibbing, Minnesota, Dylan wrote the letters to Barbara Ann Hewitt between 1957 and 1959, when he was still known as Bob Zimmerman. They give an insight into a period of his life about which not much is known.

It is noteworthy that in some of the letters Dylan writes about changing his name and hoping to sell a million records. Decades later, the now 81-year-old Dylan and 2016 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature has sold around 125 million records.

The young musician also expresses his affection for Hewitt, invites her to a Buddy Holly show, includes small fragments of poetry, and talks about the kinds of things that generations of high school students have been concerned about, such as cars, clothes, and music.

Hewitt’s daughter found the letters after her mother’s death in 2020. The original envelopes addressed in Dylan’s handwriting were sent to the Hewitt family’s new home in Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of New Brighton.

Several other items of Dylan memorabilia were also sold at auction, including an archive of 24 “Poems Without Titles” written when the singer-songwriter attended the University of Minnesota, which sold for nearly $250,000; and one of the earliest known signed photographs of Dylan that went for more than $24,000.

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