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Manuscript

Manuscripts are books, letters, documents or pieces of music written by hand as opposed to being printed.

Handwritten material relating to historical events or famous and literary figures has sparked an active collectables market. Nowadays a wide range of examples can be available from auctions and dealers from illuminated medieval manuscripts to 20th century political speeches.


Men charged over 2017 Feltham book theft

01 July 2019

Two men will appear in court in connection with the 2017 theft of rare books from a west London warehouse.

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International organised crime group arrested in €2m rare books heist

27 June 2019

Members of a crime gang believed to be behind the 2017 theft of 260 rare books in west London have been arrested in a joint operation with authorities across Romania, the UK and Italy.

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Pick of the week: Du Maurier dazzles as buyers worldwide snap up all 354 lots of writer's archive

06 May 2019

A manuscript for Rebecca and a favourite typewriter were among the top lots in a collection of objects and ephemera once owned by author and playwright Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) sold at Rowley’s in Ely (22.5% buyer’s premium).

Lyell notebooks

Notebooks of Charles Darwin’s mentor blocked from export by government in hope of finding UK buyer

18 April 2019

The notebooks of Charles Darwin’s mentor, the Scottish geologist Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875), have been temporarily blocked from export in the hope of finding a UK buyer.

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Medieval Jewish Haggadah manuscript on offer at New York gallery

15 April 2019

For the first time in more than 100 years the Lombard Haggadah, a medieval Jewish text with unique illustrations, is on public display at the New York gallery of Les Enluminures.

Book of Hours

Valuable books missing since Second World War restored to Bonn library after being consigned to Sotheby’s

12 April 2019

Six-hundred rare books, manuscripts and prints which were lost or stolen from a German library during the Second World War have been returned after they were consigned to Sotheby’s.

Elgar

Elgar masterpiece found in autograph book snapped up at Midlands auction

01 April 2019

A rediscovered melody by Sir Edward Elgar has been bought by a private buyer at auction in Lichfield after it was found in an autograph book.

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Daphne Du Maurier archive for auction in Ely features unseen photos of young Queen Elizabeth II

19 March 2019

She wrote two of the 20th century’s great masterpieces of fiction. Now on the 30th anniversary of her death, letters and photos relating to ‘Rebecca’ and ‘Jamaica Inn’ author Daphne du Maurier will go under the hammer at an Ely auction house.

Elgar

Lost Elgar masterpiece found in autograph book is heard for the first time in 100 years as it heads to auction

14 March 2019

A rediscovered melody by Sir Edward Elgar will be offered at auction in Lichfield after it was found in an autograph book.

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Rare manuscripts stolen from London auction house recovered in Italy

11 February 2019

A group of illuminated manuscripts valued at £100,000 that were stolen from a London auction house in 2016 have been recovered in Italy.

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Pick of the Week: Captain Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic provides cracking polar selection at Stroud

21 January 2019

Ephemera, photos and, remarkably, a penguin egg relating to Captain Robert Scott’s ill-fated 'Terra Nova' Expedition to the Antarctic in 1910 were eagerly contested in the room, on the phone and online at Stroud Auction Rooms’ latest sale.

vellum coat of arms

Armorial parchment given to Columbus on his return to Spain offered in Madrid auction

12 December 2018

On March 15, 1493, Christopher Columbus disembarked from his ship in Palos and headed straight to Barcelona where he recounted tales of his discovery of America to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

Aaron Dean of Trevanion & Dean

Bidders snap up letters from Pre-Raphaelite patron’s collection at Trevanion & Dean auction

21 September 2018

A group of 66 letters from the collection of an important patron of Pre-Raphaelite artists raised a £25,000 total at Shropshire auctioneers Trevanion & Dean.

Su Shi's Song Dynasty scroll

Christie’s to offer major Chinese rarity as Song Dynasty scroll is given £40m estimate

03 September 2018

An extraordinarily rare artwork by pre-eminent Chinese scholar Su Shi (1037-1101) will be offered at Christie’s Hong Kong later this year. The auctioneers are hoping that it could make a record for any Asian work of art.

Egyptian National Library and Archives in Cairo

Egypt recovers Islamic manuscript spotted in Bonhams auction

09 August 2018

A rare Islamic manuscript consigned to a Bonhams auction in London has been returned to Egypt in the latest example of Egyptian authorities succeeding in retrieving artefacts from abroad.

Canterbury bible

Medieval bible bought at auction to return to Canterbury Cathedral after 500 years away

02 August 2018

Canterbury Cathedral has bought a rare illuminated bible once owned by one of the last members of Britain’s monastic community before the Reformation.

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Disputed Antiques Roadshow Elgar score could be given to British Library

23 July 2018

A dispute over the ownership of a score by Sir Edward Elgar involving the BBC and the former Conservative MP David Mellor could lead to the manuscript being given to the British Library.

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Pick of the week: Hours and centuries of famous owners

16 July 2018

Estimated at £200,000-300,000, the 'Hours of Isabella d’Este' sold at £340,000 (plus buyer’s premium) at Bloomsbury Auctions’ sale of Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures on July 10.

Hundred Acre Wood

Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood makes auction record at Sotheby’s

11 July 2018

The original drawing of the map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood by EH Shepard has been sold for a hammer price of £350,000, setting an auction record for a book illustration.

Antiques Roadshow

Calls for Elgar score to be returned after Antiques Roadshow appearance

10 July 2018

The Elgar Foundation is calling for the return of a draft score of the Enigma Variations by Sir Edward Elgar shown on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.