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However, it was also a set that Clemens had inscribed to William R. Coe, the son-in-law of Henry Huttleston Rogers, one of the founding partners of Standard Oil and a good friend who, through a
combination of prudent loans and sound advice, had helped Clemens free himself from the dire financial problems that beset him when they first met in 1893.It is, however, ironic that such a gift should be the last edition of his works issued by the American Publishing Company, for Clemens was sure that they had robbed him of much in the way of royalties over the years and, as part of the agreement by which Rogers transferred rights of publication of his Clemens’ books to Harper Bros, he was to ma

Single volumes inscribed by Mark Twain are not uncommon, but a set which is both signed and inscribed to each volume with an aphorism – mostly drawn or adapted from his own Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar – is something quite unusual. Three other sets, all of a later Harpers issue of the Hillcrest edition, are known. Two of them were inscribed to his own daughters, Clara and Anne, and the third to Rogers’ oldest daughter, Anne, and as we know that William Coe and Mai Rogers were given this set, it seems very likely that Rogers’ two other children received similar gifts. Estimated at $80,000-120,000, this set was sold at $75,000 (£49,020).

From the same source and sold at $20,000 (£13,070) was a set of seven photographs of Clemens taken by Albert Bigelow Paine in the summer of 1906, whilst the two were staying at Upton House, a rented property in Dublin, New Hampshire.

According to Paine, the writer was just coming out of one of his meditations, and when the proofs came he arranged them as a series to illustrate what he called ‘The Progress of a Moral Purpose’ and inscribed them as follows: (1) “Shall I learn to be good?....I will sit here and think it over. (2) There do seem to be so many diff... (3) ...And yet if I should really try... (4) ... and just put my whole heart in it ... (5)...but then I couldn’t break the Sab... (6) ...and there’s so many other
privileges that... perhaps.... (7) Oh never mind, I reckon I’m good enough just as I am”.

At least ten such sets were sent to whom Paine termed “intimate friends”, though those that survive suggest that these should have been “female confidantes”. The present set, additionally inscribed on the first image “Truly Yours, Mark Twain, Sept 06”, was the one that he sent to Mai Rogers Coe.

Clemens was particularly pleased with the fifth photograph in the sequence, seen right, because
during the exposure a kitten had walked up and paused near his foot. Clemens was a great cat lover and had actually “rented” this and two other kittens for the summer from a neighbour!