Never mind the quality, feel the width


Few authors have been as conscious as Trollope of the value of money. His childhood experiences of being without it no doubt informed his attitude in later life. I imagine he would, therefore, have been keenly interested to learn that the manuscript of Fat Budgie, a poem by John Lennon was just sold by Sotheby’s New York auction house for the equivalent of £85,000.

As Trollope famously recorded in his Autobiography, his lifetime earnings from his writing were £68,939 17s 5d. Somewhat less than the short nonsense poem fetched.

Of course, if allowance is made for inflation, Trollope’s lifetime earnings (from 48 books, travel writing and other articles) would be worth £7.4 million in today’s money.  Nevertheless, given that he wrote some 2000 words per day, he might have been amused to find that he earned considerably less per page than the price at which Lennon’s work has just been valued.


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