HAARLEM (The Netherlands) • A very rare handwritten poem by Jewish diarist Anne Frank has sold for €140,000 (S$211,600) to an unnamed online bidder, fetching more than four times its reserve price.
Auctioneers closed the sale after just two minutes of tense bidding at the Bubb Kuyper auction house in the western Dutch city of Haarlem on Wednesday.
Around 20 collectors took their seats in a sales room decorated with antique books, maps and illustrations while others bid by telephone and online. The reserve price was €30,000.
"Over the last 40 years, only four or five documents signed by the teenager have gone under the hammer," Bubb Kuyper co-director Thys Blankevoort said.
"I am pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting €140,000," he told Agence France-Presse after the sale. "It indicates the emotion with which people buy (these pieces) and the symbol that Anne Frank was."
Dedicated to "Dear Cri-cri", the poem, written in Dutch in black ink on a notebook-size piece of white paper which has slightly discoloured with age, was signed "in memory, from Anne Frank". The final four lines read: "Others have criticised you for what thou hast done wrong, make sure that you make it better, that's the answer."
It indicates the emotion with which people buy (these pieces) and the symbol that Anne Frank was.
MR THYS BLANKEVOORT, co-director of Bubb Kuyper auction house, on the price.
Anne wrote the 12-line text, dated March 28, 1942, in a friendship book belonging to the older sister of her best friend only three months before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.
"My sister, named Cri-cri, tore this page from the booklet and gave it to me in 1970," said a statement by Anne's best friend, Ms Jacqueline van Maarsen, read by Mr Blankevoort.
"I know that my sister was not as attached to this verse from Anne to her... and that is the reason that I'm putting it up for sale," Ms van Maarsen said.
Her son, Mr Maarten Sanders, who attended the auction, said: "My mother will do something good with the money in the spirit of Anne Frank."
The Diary Of A Young Girl, which Anne penned while in hiding from June 1942 to August 1944, has sold more than 30 million copies in 67 languages.
She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in early 1945, aged 15, less than a year after the Nazis captured her and just before the end of World War II.
A series of letters between Anne and her sister Margot with American penpals sold for US$165,000 in 1988.
And a 1925 edition of Grimm's fairy tales, with both girls' names written on the title page, went for US$62,500 (S$89,600) in May in a New York auction, twice the estimated price.