Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen’s love letters for his one-time girlfriend sell for $876,000 at auction


Old school folks would probably agree that there isn’t anything as romantic as receiving a hand-written letter from your lover. While not all women are lucky enough to receive such confessions of love, Marianne Ihlen, Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s girlfriend of one time was often showered with hand-written notes by her beau.

After delighting Ihlen, the treasured letters from Cohen’s cove were recently sold on auction for five times their estimate. Amongst the many notes, the highest price was fetched by an individual letter that Cohen wrote in 1960, in which he describes being “alone with the vast dictionaries of language,” for $75,000. Another letter from 1964 wherein Cohen’s complains that he is “famous but empty” was sold for more than $46,000. In total, more than 50 of the singer’s letters to Ihlen were auctioned at the Christie’s sale for a combined price of $876,000.

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In addition to the letters, an Italian bronze bell dating from the 15th or 16th century that once hung in the Hydra home that Cohen and Ihlen shared was also sold for a steep $107,000 (compared to a pre-sale estimate of up to $16,000). The iconic bell is believed have inspired the lines, “There is a crack, a crack in everything” from Cohen’s 1992 release Anthem. All said love as legendary as that of Cohen’s for Marianne is worthy of being celebrated as it duly was at the Christie’s sale!

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