An ivory and gold toothpick once owned by Charles Dickens was sold at auction yesterday in New York City for $9,150. The item is engraved with the author’s initials and was sold by heirs to the Barnes and Noble family.
An authentication letter from Dickens’s sister-in-law, Georgina Hogarth, says the author used the toothpick up to his death in 1870. Dickens’s work has enjoyed enormous popularity in America since the author’s own lifetime, when he took two extended reading tours of America, lodging for part of the time at the Omni Park House Hotel in Boston, where he was feted by Longfellow and Emerson. Dickens was also honored at a farewell banquet at Delmonico’s in New York City. Unfortunately, the punishing rigors of his final American trip–during which he delivered 75 readings–caused his already failing health to rapidly deteriorate, contributing to his premature death at the age of 58.