The ashes of writer Truman Capote have sold at auction for nearly 44,000 US dollars (£34,000) – 10 times the amount they were expected to fetch.

The remains – which are stored in a Japanese carved wooden box – went under the hammer in Los Angeles, 32 years after the author of In Cold Blood died at the age of 59.

The ashes belonged to Truman’s friend Joanne Carson, the former wife of late US talk show host Johnny Carson.

Truman Capote in 1984 (Nancy Kaye/AP)

Julien’s Auctions said the sale of the item, which had an estimated price of 4,000-6,000 dollars (£3,080 -£4,600), is believed to be the first time human ashes have been sold at auction.

They were bought by an anonymous buyer in the US for 43,750 dollars (£33,746).

Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, told the Press Association: “Truman Capote had a lot of fans around the world. We had bids from Russia, South America and Asia. There was a lot of interest in such a unique item.

SOLD for $43,750… A box containing Joanne Carson's portion of #TrumanCapote's memorial ashes – sold at #auction at

— Juliens Auctions (@JuliensAuctions) September 24, 2016

“When Truman passed away in Joanne Carson’s house they were best friends. He requested to be cremated and told her: ‘Don’t put me on a shelf. I want to go on an adventure.’

“The buyer wants to remain anonymous but he said Truman will continue on with his adventures.”

Novelist Truman Capote, at Studio 54 in New York in 1978 (G. Paul Burnett/AP)

Truman, whose other well-known works include Breakfast At Tiffany’s, and Joanne, who died in 2015, frequently stayed at her home in Los Angeles, where he had a studio to work on his writing. He died at the property in 1984.

Truman’s ashes were divided following his funeral, with his long-time companion Jack Dunphy reportedly receiving the other portion.

Also included in the Icons & Idols: Hollywood sale were inscribed books from Truman to Joanne, artwork, jewellery, and clothing owned by the novelist, as well as artwork formerly from his personal collection.