Sotheby's Australia
134
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THE LATE COLLEEN McCULLOUGH AO, NORFOLK ISLAND

The earliest known surviving manuscript for The Thorn Birds, (published 1977) and associated material

Estimate $20,000 – $30,000

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PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THE LATE COLLEEN McCULLOUGH AO, NORFOLK ISLAND

comprising two maroon document boxes inscribed 'Colleen McCullough' in gold embossed lettering and a plain white document box, the first containing an incomplete manuscript including Chapters One to Four - pages 1-155, (Chapter 5 missing) - and Chapters Six to Nineteen - pages 175-659, (page 479 missing) - with annotations throughout, in pencil, together with a typed note from Colleen McCullough's literary agent at the time, Frieda Fishbein, dated August 27, 1975, stating: 'Colleen appears to have made an error in numbering here. The manuscript moves from 659 to 661, with no page 660. The transition is right. There is no break in the narrative.'; the second document box containing Chapters Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven/Eight, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven and Twelve - pages 80-435), with various notations in pencil and pen, together with a letter from Robert D. Hale, at that time the president of the American Booksellers Association, to Mr Roger W. Straus III, of the publisher, Harper & Row, New York City; and the third document box containing number and unnumbered pages, variously annotated in pencil and ink, including headings and pages from Chapters Twenty, Twenty-three and Twenty-five, together with various numbered and unnumbered photocopied pages
© All works copyright Estate of Colleen McCullough

  • Lot Sold $45,000 (Hammer Price)
  • $54,900 (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)

Condition Report

Maroon document box 1: slight yellowing to edges of the pages throughout; bends to corners in places; editorial notes in pencil throughout; some 'tippex'-style corrections via typewriter; some slight water marks/stains to some pages; scattered accretions; blemishes to some pages, probably associated with the ink ribbon of the typewriter slipping; chapter 5 missing; page 479 not present; this manuscript differs from the published edition in its ending and in that the characters 'Patsy' and 'Jims' are both killed in action; the manuscript also includes the characters Nicholas Cleary and Christopher Gore-Smith, who do not appear in the published work; White document box: foxing to the handwritten cover page; heavy yellowing and annotations in pencil and ink throughout; isolated spotting throughout; heavy yellowing, creases and bends to letter from Hathaway House; Maroon document box: creasing and bends to pages in places throughout; some yellowing to the handwritten cover page; dedication page; there is a group of pages with warping, associated with water damage and several pages have adhered together; approximately one third of the contents of this box are old Xerox copied pages, some double-sided, some annotated; further evidence of warping and water damage to later pages and 'running' to the several of the handwritten page numbers.

Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's Australia is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Saleroom Notices regarding this sale. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS.

CONTACT INFO +

Specialists

 

Guy Cairnduff

Guy Cairnduff

Head

Arts & Design 
Melbourne  |  Sydney 
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E: Guy Cairnduff

Geoffrey Smith

Geoffrey Smith

Chairman

Australian & International Art 
Melbourne  |  Sydney 
T: +61 (0)3 9508 9900 
T: +61 (0)2 9302 2402 
E: Geoffrey Smith
       

Ann Roberts

Ann Roberts

Consultant Specialist, Asian Art

Arts & Design 
Melbourne 
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E: Ann Roberts

Anthony Hurl

Anthony Hurl

Consultant Specialist

Arts & Design 
Adelaide 
T: +61 (0)8 7225 7836 
E: Anthony Hurl
       

Brett Ballard

Brett Ballard

Senior Specialist

Australian & International Art 
Sydney 
T: +61 (0)2 9302 2402 
E: Brett Ballard

Fiona Hayward

Fiona Hayward

Senior Specialist

Australian & International Art 
Melbourne 
T: +61 (0)3 9508 9900 
E: Fiona Hayward
        

Marlene Cartlidge

Administrator

Arts & Design 
Melbourne 
T: +61 (0)3 9508 9900 
E: Marlene Cartlidge

Gary Singer

Chief Executive Officer

Australian & International Art 
Melbourne  |  Sydney 
T: +61 (0)3 9508 9900 
T: +61 (0)2 9302 2402 
E: Gary Singer
   

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