BOSTON – RR Auction sold a rare Heath Ledger signed photo sold for $10,236 on May 13. The color satin-finish photograph of Ledger in his Oscar-winning role as the Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, is signed and inscribed, “To Daniel, Big smile! Heath.” The fully illustrated auction catalog with prices realized can be viewed on LiveAuctioneers.
Ledger succumbed to accidental intoxication from prescription drugs on Jan. 22, 2008, a few months after he had finished filming his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. The film was in its editing phase at the time of Ledger’s death and was released in the United States on July 18, 2008. Ledger received numerous posthumous nominations and awards for the Dark Knight, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe for the same category.
“Photos signed by Ledger as the Joker are incredibly rare and highly sought-after by cinephiles and comic book enthusiasts alike,” said Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR Auction.
A Mahatma Gandhi letter (below) discussing raising funds for the Anti Untouchability Association sold for $17,045. The one-page handwritten letter is signed “M. K. Gandhi,” and dated Oct. 9, 1932. In full: “Dear friends, I thank you for your letter of sympathy. The funds can be sent to the anti untouchability assn formed under the chairmanship by Sjt. G.D. Birla for the furtherance of its subjects.” The letter is beautifully mounted, double-matted, and framed.
In 1932, Gandhi founded the All India Anti Untouchability League — now known as Harijan Sevak Sangh (‘Servants of Untouchables Society’) — as part of his efforts to eradicate the concept of “untouchability” from India’s caste system. He put his close friend, the pioneering industrialist Ghanshyam Das Birla, in charge of the organization.
The group’s noble efforts have helped the depressed classes to access public places such as temples, schools, roads and water resources that were previously available only to those of privilege.
“It’s a superb letter pertaining to one of the overlooked aspects of Gandhi’s activism,” said auction officials.
A rare Raoul Wallenberg Schutz-Pass associated document sold for $11,251. The one-page document in Hungarian is signed “R. Wallenberg,” and dated Sept. 28, 1944. The document is associated with the issuance of a Schutz-Pass, in part (translated): “To the National Central Authority Supervising Foreigners … We are pleased to inform you that the Royal Swedish Legation in Budapest has issued a protective passport to Mr. Miksa Lévai according to which the above-named person must be considered a Swedish citizen. The Legation kindly requests that the above-named individual be exempt from wearing the distinguishing symbol. The Legation certifies that the reciprocity mentioned in the relevant regulation exists with Sweden.”
“While Wallenberg typically signed Schutz-Passes with quick scribbles, this document boasts — a more neat complete signature,” said Livingston.
Wallenberg arrived in Hungary in July 1944 as the country’s Jewish population was under siege. Nearly every other major Jewish community in Europe had already been decimated, and the Nazis were dispatching more than 10,000 Hungarian Jews to the gas chambers daily. With time of the essence, he devised and distributed thousands of these “Schutz-Passes” — official-looking, but essentially invalid, Swedish passports granting the Hungarian bearer immunity from deportation. Nazi officials readily accepted the paperwork, leading to the escape from certain death for thousands of Hungarian Jews.
Additional highlights from the sale included:
– Sun Yat-sen handwritten letter signed by the founding father and first president of the Republic of China sold for $112,542.
– Francis Marion battlefield message from the Revolutionary War’s “Swamp Fox” sold for $30,198.
– John Lennon sketch Lady Flying on a Wire sold for $19,133.
– Albert Einstein inscribed portrait sold for $11,136.
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