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Dec 3, 2009 8:52 AM by Associated Press

Rare 1st Poe book could fetch record at NY auction

A rare copy of Edgar Allan Poe's first book is expected to sell for a record price for American literature when it hits the auction block.

Experts at Christie's in New York say "Tamerlane and Other Poems" could fetch between $500,000 and $700,000 when it's auctioned Friday.

The 40-page collection of poems was published in 1827. Poe had recently moved to Boston to launch his literary career, re-establish his roots in the city of his birth and distance himself from his foster father in Richmond, Va.

Poe's name wasn't even on the cover of the book, which was credited to "a Bostonian." Only 12 copies are known to remain.

The copy being sold belongs to a Hollywood television executive.

Christie's book expert Francis Wahlgren calls the sale a "once-in-a-lifetime chance."

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