Media executive pays USD 280K for Christmas poem and reads it to his friends

A media executive paid $280,000 (EUR212,798) for an original 1860 handwritten copy of the classic poem that begins "'Twas the night before Christmas" and read it to friends at a party, an auction gallery said Tuesday.

The buyer, identified only as the chief executive officer of a media company, received the copy of the poem this month, just in time to read it to relatives and business associates at a holiday party in his Manhattan apartment, Heritage Auction Galleries president Greg Rohan said.

Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," in 1822. He wrote and signed the 1860 copy for an acquaintance. Three other copies in his writing are known to exist, but those are in museum collections, Rohan told The Associated Press.

The poem begins:

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

"Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

"In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there."

The copy sold to the media CEO had been in the hands of a private collector and was not auctioned; the Dallas-based gallery brokered the deal.

Rohan said the poem's new owner planned to "keep it forever" and maybe exhibit it publicly for Christmas 2007.

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