Failed sale of 1869 Karl Marx letter disappoints Chinese capitalists who set the price too high
A letter by the late Karl Marx, the German philosopher who offered an alternative to capitalism, has failed to sell in Communist-ruled China because the auctioneer set too high a price.
The Shanghai-based Hosane auction house set a starting price of 8.0 million yuan ($1.3 million) but failed to find a single bidder on Monday, the Global Times newspaper reported.
The 1869 letter, owned by a Chinese collector, was written by Marx while he was in the British city of Manchester.
The same letter was reportedly sold by the Christie’s auction house in 2008 for 6,000 pounds ($10,246), far higher than its original estimate of 1,000 to 1,500 pounds.
The auction house had expected a buyer to pay a premium to own a piece of Marxist history, amid a collecting boom in China as incomes rise.
But Shanghai collector Liu Debao, who specialises in “revolutionary” items, told the newspaper the price was too high.
“The price is unreasonable and frightens away interested buyers,” he was quoted as saying.
Although ruled by the Communist Party, China’s economic reforms since 1978 have loosened the state’s grip on some sectors of the economy and created thousands of multi-millionaires.