Monday, February 11, 2008

Rare Ayn Rand collecitible for sale

Here is one of the rarest items that Laissez Faire Books will ever be selling. It is a one-of-a-kind Ayn Rand collectible.

In 1968 Rand had an explosive parting of the ways with her acolyte Nathaniel Branden and his ex-wife Barbara. For most the first they knew of this splintering was Rand’s “To Whom It May Concern” which appeared in her publication The Objectivist. While the publication itself was dated May, 1968 it was behind schedule and appeared in October, 1968.

Of course, others close to Rand, knew of the split earlier. Was the October, 1968 article the first acknowledgement of the split that made it into print? Not quite. What we have for sale is a very unique letter written by Rand on September 27, 1968 which actually hints, in very strong terms, at the split. This original signed Rand letter has an interesting history.

On September 10, 1968, Bruce Evoy of Toronto, Canada wrote Miss Rand. He stated that he was a former representative for the Nathaniel Branden Institute and was working on his Ph.D. in drama. In addition he taught English and literature. In his teaching career Mr. Evoy taught about Rand’s novels but says he “always seemed rushed” and there “was never enough time to cover the many facets and ramifications” of the work. Mr. Evoy spent some time putting together a lecture series on the novels of Rand. In his letter he explained this and asked Rand if she would mind if he gave this lecture series. In addition he mentioned that he was asked to give a dramatic reading and wanted to use a section of The Fountainhead as his text, if she permitted.

Rand wrote back saying she appreciated his interest and that he used her book in his classroom courses. Then she let the cat out of the bag. “I regret that I cannot endorse your request to give private lectures on my novels. In view of my unfortunate experience with NBI (an account of which you will find in the forthcoming issue of The Objectivist), it is now my policy not to endorse any private lectures, except by the few lecturers whose viewpoint is known to me in every detail.”

Rand did, however, give permission to use the section of The Fountainhead in Mr. Evoy’s dramatic reading.

Here is the first (to our knowledge) written statement by Rand acknowledging the split with the Brandens, written prior to the release of her “To Whom It May Concern” public statement. And while Rand wrote this letter on stationery for The Objectivist she used a typewriter to X out the return address of “Empire State Building” where NBI and her publication had offices. Instead she has typed in the address of 201 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016.

Replacing the The Objectivist address at the Empire State Building with this address, along with her statement that she had an “unfortunate experience with NBI) which will be explained in the next issue of her newsletter is a very strong indication that she and the Brandens had split -- and this prior to any public announcement. To our knowledge no other letter of a similar nature exists.

Signed letters by Miss Rand routinely sell from $1,500 and up. Some currently being sold are up to $15,000. Laissez Faire has Miss Rand’s letter, and a copy of the original sent to her by Bruce Evoy for sale. Minimum offer is $3,000. We reserve the right to withdraw the item for sale at any time and, at this time, we can’t specify a date when we will stop taking offers. This is clearly a one-of-a-kind Rand collectible. Both letters are in excellent condition.

If you wish a facsimile of both Mr. Evoy’s letter to Miss Rand and a facsimile of her reply for your inspection we will supply them for a fee of $25.00. Your fee will be applied to your bid if you win. If you want the facsimile for inspection send your check to Laissez Faire Books, 836-B Southampton Rd. #299, Benicia, CA 94510-1960. Or you can call 1-800-326-0996 to have copies sent to you. To place a bid call the toll free number of email

PS: Barbara Branden has written us saying, "I don't think you're asking enough for this letter." She notes that "a very brief letter to a fan" sold for $2,500 and that she "recently learned" that a letter from Rand to Barbara's mother "just sold at auction in New York for $17,000".

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