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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.


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International hammer highlights: Manuscript strikes gold in New York

16 May 2022

Alchemical work is best-seller as Vishniac lots create a valuable mix in the saleroom

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Auction previews including two Second World War manuscript books

16 May 2022

A selection of 14 upcoming lots from auctions taking place around the UK and overseas.

A Book of Rhymes

Brontë mini book heads home to Haworth after £1m raised to buy it from New York dealer

28 April 2022

A rediscovered miniature book by Charlotte Brontë has been sold at a New York book fair.

Charles Darwin’s ‘Tree of Life’ notebook

‘Happy Easter’ after Darwin books returned

11 April 2022

The book trade has called for institutions to be more proactive in reporting missing items after two notebooks belonging to Charles Darwin were mysteriously returned to Cambridge University Library.

Bronte manscript

Brontë manuscript on sale at New York book fair

11 April 2022

A recently rediscovered miniature book by Charlotte Brontë (1816-55) is on offer at the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair (NYIABF) this month.

Lute music manuscript

UK government blocks 17th century lute music collection from leaving the country

15 March 2022

A temporary export bar has been placed on an early 17th century manuscript of lute music in the hope a buyer in the UK can be found.

A portrait of Caroline Herschel

Bath museum buys visitor book of astronomer Caroline Herschel

09 March 2022

The Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath has bought Caroline Herschel’s visitor book dating from her time living near Windsor.

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Pick of the week: Pioneering rail trio took a trip to the US

28 February 2022

Sometimes it pays to look a little further afield.

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Sermons and rabbiting on

21 February 2022

Two very different lots from a Sussex sale are noted here: a German manuscript of Lenten sermons and the tale of a toy rabbit.

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Renowned Americana collection formed by dealer William Reese up for sale at Christie's

07 February 2022

The collection of the late Americana book dealer William Reese (1955-2018) is coming to Christie’s from May this year.

First Commonplace Book

Historic library connected to Brontë family saved for the nation in £15.3m purchase with help from Britain’s richest man

18 December 2021

The Honresfield Library of British Literature, containing more than 500 manuscripts, first editions and letters including works by the Brontë family, Robert Burns and Walter Scott, has been purchased by the Friends of the National Libraries for £15.3m.

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Pick of the week: The positive diagnosis for a medieval rarity

06 December 2021

One of around 30 known medieval English folding almanacs, and one of only a few in private hands, sold for £95,000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium) at Tennants.

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Chess: Ah, that’ll be the good old Ruy Lopez opening

06 December 2021

The World Chess Championship currently taking place in Dubai began on November 26 in familiar style.

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Richly illustrated Book of Hours sells at Chorley’s

08 November 2021

A great many of the lots that brought prices in the £1000-10,000 range in a recent Cheltenham sale were multiples of varying size – some running to as many as a hundred volumes – but noted here are a couple with that same Spetchley Park provenance that can be more precisely defined.

Breviary of Ludovico da Romagnano

Manuscript missing for 30 years returns to Italy

11 October 2021

Part of a medieval manuscript stolen in Italy more than 30 years ago has been returned with the help of London firm Bloomsbury Auctions.

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Gospels manuscript makes 30-times guide price at Sotheby's

16 August 2021

Armenian manuscript demolishes estimate to take six figures in London saleroom

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Treasure of an ‘impoverished enthusiast’ sells at Bloomsbury Auctions

16 August 2021

A richly illuminated leaf from a late 15th century manuscript account of the life of St Catherine sold at a high-estimate £30,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).

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Life of a saint comes up at TEFAF Online in September

09 August 2021

This 15th century copy of the Life of St Radegund is an illuminated biography of the canonised sixth-century Frankish queen Radegund.

'120 Days of Sodom'

French state buys infamous Marquis de Sade’s manuscript with help from a wealthy banker

13 July 2021

France’s Ministry of Culture announced the acquisition by the state of the ‘120 days of Sodom’ by the Marquis de Sade and a number of other manuscripts.