2 Letters to Steve Richmond

zoom man

Founding member
Thanks mjp and chronic for helping me make these available to the good folks here...

Can anyone tell me if either of these are collected in a book?





I had them sent to me out of my NY storage place,
wanting to sell them
But now that I have them, I of course don't want to sell :eek:

How much did that 'best Bukowski letter ever offered on e-bay!' go for?,
you know, that great one line letter where he fessed up to misspelling 'alcohol.'

1 of these might be sold in a private sale, and I don't know how much to ask;
any advice?!

Thanks guys

Also, I've got 2 later poems too that I'm putting up here..



How much did that 'best Bukowski letter ever offered on e-bay!' go for?,
you know, that great one line letter where he fessed up to misspelling 'alcohol.'

$610.03. Originally listed for something like $800 or $850 with no takers. Although I'd wish otherwise, these should command not just a little bit better than that, I would think.

And no, I didn't buy that other letter, I just keep a lot of items in my "watch" list on ebay.

Good stuff, zoom.
That two line spelling correction letter sold for $610? Wow. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think that's ridiculously high for that. The '84 letter here is 10 times the letter that thing on eBay was. I don't think they compare.

If that note/afterthought sold for six bills I wouldn't let either of these go for less than a grand. The poems, I don't know. I was never a fan of the computer printer poems, so I never followed their prices really. I'm sure someone else did.

I'm just shocked that "letter" sold at that price.
And I'm shocked by many opinions; both here and everywhere. Anyway, yes, zoom's letters are probably into four figures if the current market has any sense (relative to its nonsense of late, that is).
Great stuff, Zoom! I like the first letter the best. If I were you, I would keep both of them, especially if you don't need the extra money right now.
Thanks for sharing...
Last edited by a moderator:
first of all: thanks for sharing!

just next: Don't sell!

Whatever you get for it will be gone in a few weeks and after that you neither have the letters nor the money.
Not selling means, the letters will last. They will still be with you in decades. How much is that worth? (in money?)

Another reason: given the economy now, you won't ever get what they're worth at the moment.

And very important: Things like these, I believe, do not belong into private collections at all. They need to be professionally preserved, archived and available for the public. (how about a lending - not even donating - to the Huntington?)

But IF you do sell: don't forget to make the best possible scan / color-xerox-copy of them before!
Thanks for posting these, Zoom.

Letters are a great read. I wonder sometimes what the the literary biographers of tomorrow will have to rely on. Email is so ephemeral.
Now the Antiques Roadshow

Thanks for the comments and info;
you're all right.

Hand written letters, then
typewriters, then
computer printers and
now e-mail. You're right Pessimist (and mjp, about the poems)...
Just makes you wonder what our next 'advancement' will be.

And Roni,
these letters are in a 'private collection' now, so... maybe passing them on to another is OK. Just having had them on hand for a while was, as they say, Priceless. I'd love to see them in a book.

Purple Stickpin, thanks for the info. I thought I had made that 'letter' a "watch item" too... glad you did.

And Bukfan, I'm more than happy(tickled really) to share... but I do need the $, and that's OK, I'm ready to let go. Time to invest in myself :)

Anyway, as funny as life is, I was working in San Jose this weekend at a Home Garden and Gourmet Show and my buddy (boss, co-inhabitor, chauffer (HA!)) was pushing me to bring the letters to an auctioneer booth. Anyway, it was the guy from Antiques Roadshow,
Gary Sohmers
(gray hair in a pony tail, glasses),
and I wouldn't go,
so this guy of course
comes to my set-up and my buddy jumps up
"Hey, have you ever heard of this guy 'Buck-owski' (that's how he says it)? My friend has some letters by him."
"You mean Charles Puke-owski? Yeah, he's a famous poet."

Anyway, now I have 2 signed postcards from this guy
and he's read the letters and has asked for scans (which I've since sent)
and he said he'll do some research
(hadn't ever heard of Steve Richmond)
and let me know values and/or best way to sell.

It was a hoot meeting him and his throwback-flower girl female companion...
didn't recognize either until I got his signed 'card'.

Impressed he knew this 'Puke-owski' character....
So just heard back from the guy ->

Sorry to take so long ... been on the road and Rita did a little research ... they could sell for big bucks in the proper auction ... I couldn't give you an estimate other than to show previous prices realized at auction ... but suffice to say it would be thousands.

Let me know if you would like to consign these for auction or you can try PriceMiner for previous auction sale prices. http://www.priceminer.com/a/3123/4

Let me know if I can be of service.

Nice to meet you in AZ.

Thanks for watching "Antiques Roadshow."


Ok, it was San Jose, not Arizona, and I don't watch the show
Anyway, thanks Chuck (I mean Gary).

Anyone a member of price miner?
I'm not any closer to coming up with a fair price......
I think that the letters are great, but I think that the Antiques Roadshow "Expert" is wrong. Thousands? Each? I would say that they would probably sell for $750 - $1250 each, but only if stnickl is interested. At ebay auction without him interested, I think that you'd have a tough time finding a bidder. At a PBA auction or similar, I think that it would be a tough sell.

But that is just my opinion.

Still, if I wanted to sell something like this, I'd try listing them here, then ebay.

I like roadshow as much as the next guy, but their expert pricing is sometimes off the mark. I took a Dickens first edition, 1844, marked up (not by Dickens) at the time of publication for a public dramatic reading, and they estimated the value at $1500. After much research, work, multiple listings on eBay, I managed to get $200 for it. So take their rare book prices with a grain of salt.
David, we probably should have said "That's great, I'll sell it to you then!"

And just to give you all the heads up,
I'm slowly working at putting the 1984 letter up on e-bay...
and Bill, I'm going to have a low (very low) opening bid
to encourage bidding->
Too many big ticket items shouting 'No Reserve' have insane opening bids and this ain't gonna to be one of 'em.
And this isn't going to have a bunch of bids only to go unsold because of an inflated Reserve;
No Reserve on this so yeah, I'm almost certifiably nuts.

And for full disclosure, I was offered $1000 for this letter with neither of us really knowing what to ask/offer/accept so I came up with this brilliant idea of letting the market dictate the price.... so yeah, I'm thinking it should go for more,
but you know, 'should' and 'did' can be very different.

Ahh, what's the worst that can happen :eek:
Shit, someone stop me
what the hell, u only live once.
I hope you do make a bid, Bukfan,
but I fully expect Bill to make the opening bid
(no pressure Bill, but you better.....) :>

Finally got the listing up on e-bay, after submitting it almost 48 hours ago...
Yeah, it's goofy, but please let me know if you see any glaring errors.
(interesting interview with Steve Richmond by Ben Pleasants)
hehehe ,

love to quote Hank , see letter 7-7-88 ;

On your inheritence - nuture it. and be careful . money can just slip off while you're looking the other way.
a bit of money is all right as long as it doesn't change your normal peronality.

$$$ for priceless letters !

we need more correspondence between those 2, and there is.
It looks like Nick paid $1176 for the letter. I was wrong and glad that these went for a fair price and that ZM did not take a bath on these.

Well Bill, (and I was ready to shit....)
Did you see my response to a question I received?,
and that I posted?
I wouldn't buy from me either,
not with that jarbled response I gave.

Egads, I can not multi-task
(was on the phone at the time when I stupidly responded)

I feel bad for a member here who offered the 1k,
but I just really didn't know the value in todays market so wanted to see what it would fetch.

(personally, I think it is worth even more than what it went for..... (and he hasn't paid yet)) but that's ok)

There was a bid retraction somewhere too,
and my next highest bidder was a first timer
(registered though in June)
and I don't like to sell to them
(but damn it, I didn't say that in the auction).

Will let you all know what happens
Congrats, Zoom! You took quite a risk selling it with no reserve. I'm glad you still got a fair price.
Last edited by a moderator:
I've got three letters from Bukowski dated 83- 84, Of course I wouldn't want to sell them but have always wondered how much they're worth. All from San Perdro with enevelopes and little drawing of the man with bottle as usual.
Plus I have a copy of Cardiff magazine Second Aeon N0 13 which includes three poems by Buk, two of which ( "poem for dante", and "the condtions") don't seem to be listed on this site's database.

Don't think i made it clear that the letters were addressed to me after sending him somewritings. Lovely, supportive replies which I like to re-read when I'm feeling like shit. They obviously haven't been published - and they are funny and worth reading - as I'm the only person who's read them - except for a few mates.
Who would I contact about getting them published in future collections?
You would want to contact Ecco, BUT, I would be surprised if they include them if they are even planning on putting out any more books of general letters. They seem to use ones that are addressed to publishers and poets that he knew for a while (Menebroker is an example).

Plus, I believe that Bukowski kept a copy of all correspondence except for fan mail.

Can anyone (I'm looking in the direction of Spain) confirm this?

what you COULD do, is doing us all a favor - making HQ-scans of those letters and post them here. I know of 2 or 3 cats around who'd sure like to see them ...
You would want to contact Ecco, BUT, I would be surprised if they include them if they are even planning on putting out any more books of general letters. They seem to use ones that are addressed to publishers and poets that he knew for a while (Menebroker is an example).

Plus, I believe that Bukowski kept a copy of all correspondence except for fan mail.

Can anyone (I'm looking in the direction of Spain) confirm this?

The pre 1958 correspondence was pretty much "lost" up until recently, and not everything has been uncovered. B. did keep fan mail in the 70s thru the 90s for sure. Maybe not all fan mail, but a great amount nonetheless.

If I were to edit a volume of letters, content would trump "names," if you know what I mean.
Bukowski told me he had sent my first very letter and writings off to John Martin because he thought Martin would be interested in publishing me. As I say, very supportive,

"Phoned my American publisher and told him about it, that I was going to mail it onto him. Also phoned my girlfriend and told her that, at last, there was something good to read."
And later:
"You're the best cure for a hangover I ever lucked across."

Praise indeed. (August 22nd 1983.) 2 other letters after that. Nothing from Martin thbough.

By the way am I write in replying to this by pressing Post Quick Reply?

Users who are viewing this thread