Capote’s Ashes Auctioned off for $43,750

The famous American author’s ashes were sold to an anonymous collector in LA

Truman Capote’s ashes were auctioned off to an anonymous collector for $43,750 over the weekend. They had — since his death from liver failure in 1984 — resided in the Los Angeles home of Joanne Carson, his close friend and wife of late-night star Johnny Carson. However, the ashes became homeless after her passing last year.

Initially listed at only $2,000, the ashes drew surprising interest, drawing potential collectors from Russia, Germany, China, and various South American countries, according to vendor Julien’s Auctions. The sale also included the clothes Capote wore at the time of his death ($6,400) and two prescription pill bottles ($9,280).

While the whole thing may seem slightly distasteful, it is worth noting that Capote, at least abstractly, granted his approval. As The Guardian reported, his will included instructions to Carson, stating, “ he didn’t want his ashes to sit on a shelf,” a point Julien’s Auctions president Darren Julien has taken quite literally, commenting, “I know 100% he would love [the auction]… it is just furthering the adventures of Truman Capote.”

Whatever your stance, there is no denying Capote cultivated his outsized pop culture presence with the same ferocity as his famed prose. So, at worst, he probably wouldn’t be totally displeased with a reentry into the public eye. Although, perhaps, it might be best to remember him through Breakfast at Tiffany’s, In Cold Blood, and his memorable T.V. appearances instead of relics.

About the Author

More Like This

A Woman and Her Imaginary Friend Disappear into the Wilderness

Amanda Goldblatt on her novel "Hard Mouth" and the search for escape

Aug 14 - Lily Meyer

The Beginning of Our Quest for Your Mother’s Missing Body

An excerpt from 'The Remainder' by Chilean author Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated by Sophie Hughes

Aug 7 - Alia Trabucco Zerán