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February 2, 2012
John Steinbeck books and collectibles are going to auction

Lot1189-Steinbeck-GrapesofWrath2.JPGThe eccentric bookseller Peter Howard was known for his vast and valuable collection of antiquarian books, which he sold and traded at his legendary Serendipity Bookstore in Berkeley, which closed after his death in 2011 at age 72.

Now 270 books and related items from that treasure trove will be offered by Bonhams auction house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 12 in San Francisco.

The centerpiece will be material from Howard's vast John Steinbeck collection. Among it is a signed first-edition presentation copy of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Grapes of Wrath," inscribed, "Again for Helen Murphy / affectionately / John Steinbeck." Bidding will start at $10,000.

Also up for auction will be the typed manuscript of "The Pearl of the World," the short story that became the slightly longer "The Pearl" ($15,000 to $20,000). Also, the novella version of Steinbeck's "Lifeboat" ($5,000 to $7,000), which he wrote at the request of Alfred Hitchcock. The British director made "Lifeboat" into a movie in 1944.

Bonhams is at 229 San Bruno Ave. For more information: (323) 436-5442, www.bonhams.com.

On a related topic, the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas will hold its 32nd annual Steinbeck Festival from May 3 through May 6. Information: www.steinbeck.org.

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