Cohen letters, complete with philatelic covers, bring $1.2M

More than 50 letters written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen to Marianne Ihlen, his “muse and lover” and the woman who inspired his 1967 hit So Long, Marianne, recently sold for nearly $1.2 million.

The 64-lot online sale, which also included seven of Ihlen’s letters, offers “fascinating glimpses of the young poet’s yearnings and artistic struggles,” according to auctioneers with Christie’s auction house in New York.

Cohen met the Norwegian-born Ihlen on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960.

Philatelic highlights of the sale include a cover plus contents, which are signed “Leonard,” to “Darling.” The cover is franked with three 1966 five-cent George Washington stamps and cancelled with a New York City postmark dated Feb. 23, 1967.

Offered as Lot 45, the cover’s contents – a four-page letter written on Penn Terminal Hotel letterhead – detail Cohen’s first major performance in New York with the singer writing, “Every singer you’ve ever heard of was there performing,” adding there were more than 3,000 people in attendance.

It brought more than $45,600.

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