December 21, 2009

In a recent auction of unique gold collectables, a toothpick once belonging to famed English author Charles Dickens was sold for $9,150. Sold by Bonham’s on December 16, 2009, the amount easily surpassed the pre-sale estimates by the auction house of three to five thousand dollars.

Dickens, a literary giant who penned such works as “A Christmas Carol”, “Great Expectations” and “Oliver Twist”, made two visits the United States of America. At the arrival of his second trip in 1867, Dickens carried a gold and ivory toothpick that contracted for storage and bore his initials. His sister-in-law Georgina Horsforth later sold the toothpick and an autographed note to an anonymous bidder shortly after the author’s death in 1870. The Dickens family collection of Barnes and Noble was the most recent owner of the item and put it up for the record-setting auction.

With gold prices soaring to over $1,100 per ounce, interest in gold collectables has increased as well. Found in museum auctions, private sales and Internet websites such as eBay, collectors are drawn to buy watches, rare coins and other gold pieces with historical value. The most famous of these sales was the 1999 auction of an 18-karat Patek Phillipe gold watch from 1933 that brought over $11 million.

As investors look beyond banks and stocks to find lucrative investments, gold collectables have become an increasingly attractive alternative. Precious metals and history can combine to provide great expectations for such artifacts, making collectables like Dickens’ golden toothpick a strong investment. 

Shannon King

Senior Staff Writer –

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