|Plaque on Salvatore Quasimodo's birthplace in Modica|
A little piece of Sicily is to go on sale next week in the form of the Nobel Prize medal awarded to one of Modica's most famous sons, the poet Salvatore Quasimodo, in 1959. This will be the first sale of a Nobel medal in Italy.
The lot, to be auctioned by Bolaffi of Turin, consists of the medal, the diploma, the original photos of the ceremony and a DVD of it [although the latter is available online anyway]. The starting price is €50,000 but it is estimated that the collection will sell for €100,000 - €150,000.
Bolaffi have decided to set aside €20,000 of their commission to create a scholarship which will enable a student from the Istituto A.M. Jaci, the Messina high school which Quasimodo attended, to study in Milan, the city where the poet lived from 1934 and in which he is buried.
It remains to be seen whether a Sicilian cultural association or other entity will bid for the lot but the Bolaffi decision does mean that Sicily will derive some benefit from the sale. Who knows where the lucky student's Milan experience will lead him or her and what ideas he or she might bring back to Sicily?