Vivien Leigh and her first cat, a rescued stray cat named Tissy (Watercolor painting by Roger Furse, sold for more than US$ 83,000 in 2017)

In September 2017, Sotheby’s auctioned a set of three books about cats belonging to Vivien Leigh. The Story of a Friendship was a gift from notable actor George Relph (Ben-Hur) and his wife Mercia Swinburne. The Cat In Nature, History and Art was a gift from one Joy Thomason (unknown), and Cat’s A.B.C. was given to her by Robert Rosterman, the late movie historian and writer who worked for Paramount and MGM. His favorite movie of all time was of course, Gone With The Wind. All three books featured their respective inscriptions to Leigh.

Sotheby’s estimate was between GBP 100-150 (US$ 133-200), which is ridiculous given her legacy a as one of the greatest actresses of all time and the provenance of the books. No surprise then that the books ended up selling for almost 10x the estimate.

These three books are still available pre-owned today on Amazon (Not Vivien Leigh’s, obviously😊) , and I’ve provided the links below. Just ignore the price for a new copy of The Story of a Friendship. The pre-owned hardcover ones go for under US$ 10 and there are 6 copies left at the time of writing.

For more details (and some awesome pictures) about Vivien Leigh and her cats, check out these two short articles by AnOther magazine and Sotheby’s.

For more highly recommended non-fiction books on cats, check out our respective Top Lists for hardcover coffee table and paperback books.

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