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You Might Be Able to Buy Truman Capote's Ashes for Just $6,000

A carved box filled with the literary icon's ashes will go up for auction in Los Angeles next month.
Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images

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A carved box filled with the ashes of literary icon Truman Capote will go up for auction in Los Angeles this September, with a starting bid of only $2,000, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Capote died in 1984 of liver disease at a Bel Air mansion belonging to his close friend, Joanne Carson—one-time wife of Johnny Carson. Carson turned the room where Capote died into a sort of shrine, storing the box of his remains there along with other mementos of the late writer.


The box of Capote's ashes—or half of them, to be exact—was included in Carson's estate when she passed away last year. After a few months of ethical deliberation, Carson's estate executors decided to auction off the box and turn the cremated remains over to auction house owner Darren Julien.

"With some celebrities this wouldn't be tasteful, but I know 100 percent he would love it," Julien said to the Guardian. To his knowledge, this is the first time human ashes have ever been auctioned off. "Truman told Joanne that he didn't want his ashes to sit on a shelf. So this is a different way of honoring his request."

The ashes are estimated to go for around $6,000, though they may fetch much more—William Shatner's kidney stone sold for $75,000, and he never wrote In Cold Blood.

"Truman Capote loved the element of shock," Julien told Vanity Fair last week. "He loved publicity. And I'm sure he's looking down laughing, and saying, 'That's something I would have done.' He was a larger-than-life character."

Read: The Capote Character