Marx, Karl (1818 – 1883)
An excessively rare signed photograph of Marx
An excessively rare signed and inscribed approximately 2.25″ X 3.75″ cabinet photograph by Karl Marx. A middle-aged Marx is pictured, looking to one side, with an expression of steely determination on his face. Signed in fountain pen ink, “Madame E. S. Beesly, Zum Andenken, Karl Marx, London 13th Oct. 1871”. Top edge slightly trimmed, and age-spotting, otherwise in fine condition. Together with an accompanying autograph letter by Marx, 14th October 1871, to his friend E.S. Beesly. Marx writes, “My dear Sir, Enclosed the photograph for Mrs. Beesly. The christian name of the illustrious Greenwood is Frederick.” Marx then continues in French, “Ce n’est pas Frederic le Grande. Vous savez que Voltaire, dans sa retraite suisse, avait auprès de lui un jésuite, nommé Adam, qu’il était accoutumé à représenter à ses visiteurs en disant: Ce n’est pas le premier des hommes!” (You know the Voltaire, in his swiss retreat, had a jesuit working there, named Adam, whom he was accustomed to introducing to visitors by saying, He is not the First of Men!” Marx then returns to English, “Jenny will give herself the pleasure to call on Mrs. Beesly on Wednesday next, about 1 o’clock. Yours most sincerely, Karl Marx”.
Age-toning to the letter, particularly so to the left and right edges, otherwise generally fine. Marx’ austere sense of humour is in evidence here. The Frederick Greenwood that he sends up in this letter was an English journalist, and editor of the Pall Mall Gazette. Just four months earlier, Marx had written to the Gazette to protest against a report that suggested that Marx held himself accountable for the charges that had been brought against the French statesman, Jules Favre; his letter to Greenwood was published in the journal – it closed with the lines, “It is no fault of mine that you are as ignorant as arrogant. If we lived on the Continent, I should call you to account in another way.” A superb pair of investment items. Signed photographs of Marx are almost non-existant, especially those that are signed to the image itself, this being only the second known such example to be offered for sale in the past thirty years.