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Robert Woods Bliss to Royall Tyler, December 18, 1926

Stockholm, December 18, 1926.Saturday.

Dear Royall:

This can only be a brief word to tell you how delighted we are that you can arrange to go to Cairo. It seems too good to be true. That you are taking William with you is a master stroke, for it will be a wonderful experience for the boy under your tutelage.See letter of December 12, 1926. I wish that I might have had the same chance when I was of his age.

I am writing Kalebdjian by the same mail, telling him that you will probably call in the course of the next ten days. I do this, as I suppose that you will want to talk to him about details, and, of course, it will be necessary to obtain the address of the hiding place of the objects.

Please send me the name of the ship on which you will embark.


Since dictating the above, I have received your letter of the fourteenth. In view of what you say about not going to Paris, I shall send a check to your bank, asking them to credit you therewith in dollars and you can arrange with the bank to draw against it in any way you like.

I am enclosing a letter of introduction to our Minister at Cairo,Joseph Morton Howell (1863–1937), U.S. minister to Egypt between 1922 and 1927. in case it should prove useful. I do not advise you to present it otherwise, as he is a rather tiresome old boy.

I am dictating this at the Chancery and will add a postscript to tell you our upward limit after talking with Mildred. I think it would be splendid if you could do the actual bargaining, for that would be much more satisfactory than trying to negotiate by letter with Kalebdjian. The latter, however, may prefer to keep the matter in his own hands and, if so, you can be guided accordingly. I agree with you that the sum should include his commission and he can arrange as he likes with the owner. As you say, your expenses are to come out of the purchase price in case we buy.

I do not see what hints I can give you, as we know nothing more than you do about the collection and have no idea what sort of a person holds it. But your experience with Orientals (!) will be a great asset and your artistic knowledge a sure guide.

I am so glad that Hayford Peirce will go with you, both for your sake and for ours.

Mildred agrees with me that £10,000About $47,000 in December 1926, or $650,000 in 2010 dollars. cash down would be our limit—but if the things are not spurious [and] really fine, it would be foolish to lose them for the sake of a few hundred pounds. The manner of investigation, therefore, makes it difficult to set a definite price and as our confidence in you is complete, I think it best to give you the above sum as a basis on which to work—preferably down, but, if necessary, up too. I should think that in the hand, so to speak, would help tickle at a crucial or psychological moment.

Bless you, dear Royall, and all good wishes attend you. When is your steamer due to land you in Egypt? And by the way, the British Minister is a good friend of mine and I enclose a card to him.Nevile Meyrick Henderson (1882–1942), British minister in Egypt between 1924 and 1928. Best of Christmas Greetings and love to you all from us both. Poor Mildred is laid low with the grippe.

Yours ever

Associated People: Hayford Peirce; William Royall Tyler
Associated Places: Cairo (Egypt); Stockholm (Sweden)