First edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, inscribed by the author to architect Harold Caufield, $50,000 (£39,100) at Swann.

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The book with the scarce pictorial dust-jacket featuring Lee’s portrait by Truman Capote is a rarity in its own right. This copy signed For Harold, with love, Love, LOVE was given to Caufield, a New York-based architect who worked on the Upper East Side apartments and townhouses belonging to the Brown family where Nelle Harper Lee lived when she moved to Manhattan in 1949.

Lee (who lived rent-free while writing To Kill a Mockingbird) spent much time with the Browns at their home during the 1950s-60s.

The Christmas card signed Nelle Harper includes a long greeting discussing her holiday travel plans and family. It ends with the lines: “I loathe people who write letters on Christmas cards, don’t you?. But I ramble on-waiting for the plumber to return with an antique part for an antique john. It never fails-some part of this house collapses every Christmas. It’s as traditional as you dropping the turkey - oh, how I miss you and love you!”

Offered for sale at Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in New York as part of a May 23 sale titled Focus on Women, it was estimated at $10,000-15,000 but hammered for $50,000 (£39,100).