Bob Dylan’s Collection of Teenage Love Letters Sells for $670,000

Bob Dylan love letters

Photo Credit: Chris Hakkens / CC by 2.0

“Unprecedented archive” of teenage love letters written by Bob Dylan sells for nearly $670,000 at auction.

A collection of personal letters written by a teenage Bob Dylan to a high school girlfriend has sold at auction to a renowned Portuguese bookshop for $669,875. The Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal, known as “the World’s Most Beautiful Bookshop,” intends to keep the archive of letters as a complete set available for Dylan fans and scholars to study.

Then known as Bob Zimmerman, the native of Hibbing, Minnesota, wrote letters to then-girlfriend Barbara Ann Hewitt between 1957 and 1959. In them, he expresses his affection for her, invites her to a Buddy Holly show, writes snippets of poetry, and talks about typical teenage concerns: cars, clothes, and music. 

The young Bob Dylan even mentioned wanting to change his name and hoping to sell a million records in the love letters. Decades later, Dylan has sold about 125 million records — in addition to being the 2016 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Hewitt’s daughter found the letters after her mother died in 2020. The collection contains 42 letters in 150 pages total, including their original envelopes addressed in Dylan’s handwriting, a signed Valentine’s Day card, and an unsigned handwritten note. The archive was sold by RR Auction, a Boston-based auction house specializing in unique memorabilia.

Several other items of Bob Dylan memorabilia were sold at the auction, including an archive of 24 “Poems Without Titles” that the singer-songwriter penned while attending the University of Minnesota, which sold for nearly $250,000. Additionally, one of Dylan’s earliest known signed photographs went for more than $24,000.

Among the other high-ticket memorabilia recently sold at auction includes a rare Buddy Holly poster from “The Day the Music Died,” which sold for $447,000. The first Star Trek comic book also recently sold at RR Auction for $46,500. Musicians memorabilia comes from many strange places. Just a few years ago, a used paper plate with a set list written by Kurt Cobain sold at auction.