SA man pays R65 000 for Mandela’s Unisa letter at auction
A FRENETIC auction saw Nelson Mandela’s letter, found in Pietermaritzburg, sold for R65 000 at Cannon’s Auctioneers yesterday.
The letter was bought by a South African man whose name was not disclosed.
He competed with local and international bidders, from America and the United Kingdom, who made their bids over the phone.
The presale estimate of the letter was R60 290.
The letter was originally written by Nelson Mandela, while he was incarcerated at Robben Island, to the University of South Africa in 1977.
In the letter, Mandela had written to the registrar at Unisa in Pretoria to submit an assignment and inquire about tutorials.
Meanwhile local resident Penny Delport paid R5 000 for a photograph signed by Mandela.
Cannon’s Auctioneers’ Noelene Cannon said the phone bidders always push for a high bid. “The memorabilia auction is a sentimental thing. The woman who bought the photograph said her late father once met Nelson Mandela. I think that’s the reason people buy this items,” she said.
Cannon said she believes both items fetched a fairly good price.
“I can’t remember the last time we had such an exciting auction,” she said.
David Cannon told the The Witness that the letter had been checked and authenticated.
Cannon said he had acquired the letter from a Pietermaritzburg man but he did not disclose his name.
He said the man was a Unisa employee at the time Mandela posted the letter to the institution.
David Cannon of Cannon’s Auctioneers at the auction yesterday.