An Irish millionaire has humble plans for Charles Dickens's writing desk and chair, which he bought at a charity auction on Wednesday.
Tom Higgins, CEO of a company that gives live tarot card and psychic readings online and via cellphones, said he simply plans to write letters at the desk.
"I don't think I'll write anything more in depth than that or try to lift the spirit of Charles Dickens from the desk. But you never know — there might be some spirit left in it for me," Higgins, a self-described Dickens fan, said after his successful bid of the equivalent of nearly $860,000 Cdn at the Christie's auction on Wednesday.
The mahogany desk and walnut chair, which Dickens used while writing Great Expectations at his country home in southern England, were among the lots sold to raise money for London's Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.
The two-piece set had been passed down over the years to the author's great-great-grandson, Christopher Charles Dickens. When he died, his wife Jeanne-Marie donated both items to the hospital.
"Charles Dickens was a champion of the poor and needy and an enthusiastic patron of Great Ormond Street Hospital in its early days," she said recently. Dickens had been a close friend of the hospital's founder, Charles West, and a speaker at its first fundraising dinner in 1858.
"My husband shared his ancestor's desire to help the disadvantaged children and when I became aware of the fundraising needs of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, I knew that I had to give the desk and chair to them," she said.