Monday, June 23, 2008

Early U.S. phone book sold for $170,500

Auctioneers at Christie's were pleasantly surprised this week when they sold an old New England phone book for six figures.
The slender booklet that was the first phone directory in New Haven, Conn., went for $170,500 after some spirited bidding by six buyers Tuesday.
Auctioneer Tom Lecky told the Hartford Courant Wednesday the sale price was "beyond recognition" since Christie's had expected the 1878 volume to fetch about $30,000.
Lecky told the newspaper the New Haven book was pretty impressive for its time. It contains listings for about 400 subscribers, which is much thicker than comparable phone books printed in Chicago and San Francisco.
The level of interest in the new technology may have been higher in Connecticut since Alexander Graham Bell had invented the telephone in New Haven just two years earlier.

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