A Vermont man’s rare books went for nearly $4 million. Here’s what titles he sold.

Bruce Lisman's 331-piece collection featured corrected page proofs of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," among other treasures.

A Vermont man’s rare books collection, including most significantly, corrected page proofs of “The Scarlet Letter” handwritten by author Nathaniel Hawthorne, reportedly fetched nearly $4 million in auction this month.

Bruce Lisman, a retired Wall Street executive and a 2016 Republican candidate for Vermont governor, told the Burlington Free Press last month that he started collecting rare books in New York in the late 1980s. Describing it as “a great love affair,” Lisman felt like he accomplished what he needed to with the collection and felt ready to move on, the newspaper reported.

As part of the auction, philanthropist Stuart Rose paid $693,000 for the page proofs of Hawthorne’s 1850 novel after Christie’s auction house in New York estimated its value at $600,000-800,000, the Free Press reported.


Though the auction house valued the entire 331-piece collection at up to $4.5 million, the actual sale brought in $3,851,568, the newspaper noted.

The following are some of the most valuable pieces sold:

Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque” from 1840, inscribed$441,000
The Groves-Bradley Martin copy of Herman Melville’s “Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life,” inscribed$176,400
The 1851 London edition of Melville’s “The Whale”$170,100
An autographed letter by Mark Twain defending his reputation to his future father-in-law on Dec. 29, 1868$151,200
A copy of “The Scarlet Letter” that Hawthorne presented to George Mullet, a friend he was indebted to$138,600
The extremely rare complete serial printing of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Or, Life among the Lowly,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe in The National Era$126,000
The signed Hawthorne family copy of “The Scarlet Letter” with autograph manuscript$126,000
Auction results from Christie’s in New York.

To view the full collection, visit


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