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.

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.


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.


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.

Sandra Hindman of Les Enluminures

American dealer reveals what makes her return to Masterpiece London – video

29 June 2018

Medieval manuscripts dealer Sandra Hindman of Les Enluminures tells ATG why she is returning to Masterpiece for the eighth year running and picks out two star items on her stand.


First Hours of Aristophil sell-off

25 June 2018

The mammoth disposal of the Aristophil collections of historic manuscripts began last week with a premium-inclusive €17.6m series of seven June auctions offered over four days at Drouot (June 15 and 18-20).

Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Malevich archive emerges at Bonhams auction

11 June 2018

An archive of manuscripts and correspondence from Russian avant garde artist Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) has emerged at Bonhams. It will be auctioned as a single lot in London on June 20.

Fork handles, not four candles… original draft script makes £28,000

11 June 2018

Written in red ink on four sheets, the original draft script of Ronnie Barker’s famous ‘Fork Handles’ TV sketch of 1976 has been sold for £28,000.


Mozart and a little lute magic at Sotheby's

11 June 2018

It was a four-page Mozart manuscript of an unfinished Allegro in G for piano and four hands that led the Sotheby’s (25/10/12.9% buyers’ premium) sales of May 22.

Boris Pasternak’s novel ‘Doctor Zhivago’

Forum Auctions to offer typescript for Boris Pasternak’s ‘Doctor Zhivago’

17 May 2018

An original typescript for Boris Pasternak’s most famous novel ‘Doctor Zhivago’ with handwritten corrections by the author has been consigned to Forum Auctions. It is estimated at £100,000-150,000 at the sale in London on May 31.


French rooms to team up for Aristophil sales

14 May 2018

Three extra French auctioneers are to assist in the mammoth disposal of the Aristophil collections of historic manuscripts.

Grand Auctions card

‘Jack the Ripper’ card makes £22,000 at Folkestone auction

03 May 2018

A card signed ‘I am Jack the Ripper’ that had been in police files until the case into the Victorian killer was eventually closed sold for £22,000 at Grand Auctions of Folkestone, Kent earlier this week.

Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen’s handwritten manuscript for ‘Born to Run’ goes up for auction

20 April 2018

A handwritten working manuscript of the 1975 Bruce Springsteen breakout hit 'Born to Run' comes up for auction at Sotheby’s online in June.


Manuscript for Sherlock Holmes story featuring secret code by Arthur Conan Doyle goes under the hammer in Texas

11 April 2018

A handwritten manuscript of a Sherlock Holmes story featuring a cipher devised by author Arthur Conan Doyle goes under the hammer this month in Dallas, Texas.


ATG letter: Doctor Who script – Who are you kidding?

26 March 2018

MADAM – I did a double – no, triple – take when I read the article ‘First Doctor Who script up at auction’ in ATG No 2332.


First Doctor Who script up at auction

05 March 2018

The script for the very first Doctor Who episode owned by the first actor to play the role is coming up at auction in the West Midlands.

Book of Hours

Louvre secures funding from 8500 donors to buy £8m Book of Hours once owned by Francis I of France

20 February 2018

The Louvre Museum in Paris has raised more than £8m to buy a jewel-encrusted Book of Hours.


Text education lessons in the US with Les Enluminures exhibition

19 February 2018

Vernacular texts from the Middle Ages might be rarer than their Latin equivalents but their accounts of medieval society and history can offer modern readers a clearer window to the past.