The Marquis de Sade’s manuscript of ‘120 Days of Sodom’ that had been estimated at €4m-6m at Aguttes but has now been withdrawn.

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They were part of a huge haul of works from defunct manuscript investment scheme Aristophil.

Auction house Aguttes in France had planned to offer them in its first Aristophil auction on December 20 – the first of as many as 300 sales to follow in order to disperse the estimated 135,000 historic documents.

Aguttes said the French government has 30 months to make an offer at the “international market value price”, during which an export bar is in place.

The original 39ft (11.9m)-long manuscript of the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom had been estimated at €4m-6m. Breton’s handwritten Manifeste du Surrealisme – his definition of the movement – was estimated at €4.5m-5.5m ahead of the auction.