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Manuscripts

Documentation that has not been compiled into books serves as an invaluable record of history and human interest in the form of manuscripts. Manuscripts are included in most libraries and can be found in many private collections. This documentation takes the form of letters, diaries, legal records, essays, plays, poems, on anything from notes on scientific research to articles on women’s rights.

Manuscripts are often just as valuable, or more so, than a rare book. Original manuscripts are a primary source from the writer that has not been subjected to mass-market publishing. Often, antique manuscripts only exist in leaves and fragments, a sad but precious tribute to those who wished to preserve their contents for posterity. Library manuscript departments provide only limited access to these works because of their fragility.

The most expensive manuscript to date is the "Rothschild Prayerbook," an illuminated book of hours created between 1505 and 1510. Rescued from the Nazi-seized art from the Austrian government by Baroness Rothschild, the work incorporates the artistry of master Flemish Renaissance painters. A more contemporary example is the large collection of poet John Keats’ autograph poetry and transcript letters at the Harvard University Library.


Quick Facts

  • An original signed gouache and watercolor drawing for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Silver Blaze" sold at auction for $112,500 at Christie’s in 2014
  • A historic autograph signed letter from Abraham Lincoln to friend and Congress member Richard Yates sold for $118,000 at an auction by Profiles in History in 2014
  • A document commemorating the "Los Alamos New Mexico Atomic Bomb Project," signed by 30 scientists, officers, and civilians employed on The Manhattan Project sold for $161,000 at an auction by Christie’s in 2014

Recommended Items at Auction

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Raccolta di documenti relativi alla Commenda di S. Antonio del Ferro a Prato. Datati 1604-1712.
Oct 11, 10:00 AM CEST
Raccolta di documenti relativi alla Commenda di S. Antonio del Ferro a Prato. Datati 1604-1712.
by Gonnelli Casa d'Aste
Est: €400- €800
€2,80013 Bids
Philosophy, Science, Manuscript, Early 17th
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Philosophy, Science, Manuscript, Early 17th
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $80- $800
$1505 Bids
Koranhandschrift: Arabische Handschrift auf Papier. Istanbul um 1800
Oct 11, 10:00 AM CEST
Koranhandschrift: Arabische Handschrift auf Papier. Istanbul um 1800
by Galerie Bassenge
Est: €180- €250
€2604 Bids
19th c. Devanagari Hand-Written Manuscript With Ten Miniature Paintings
Oct 10, 7:00 PM EDT
19th c. Devanagari Hand-Written Manuscript With Ten Miniature Paintings
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$4753 Bids
Elizabethan Manuscript Vellum Document
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Elizabethan Manuscript Vellum Document
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$603 Bids
Hindu Palm-Leaf Manuscripts Bound Between Wooden Boards, 19th c.
Oct 10, 7:00 PM EDT
Hindu Palm-Leaf Manuscripts Bound Between Wooden Boards, 19th c.
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $400- $800
$4002 Bids
16 MANUSCRIPT CHARTS OF PROFESSION OF SOLEMN VOWS.
Oct 08, 1:00 PM CEST
16 MANUSCRIPT CHARTS OF PROFESSION OF SOLEMN VOWS.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €400- €600
€4252 Bids
COLLECTION OF 19 LEAVES IN FRAGMENTS, BINDER’S WASTE.
Oct 08, 1:00 PM CEST
COLLECTION OF 19 LEAVES IN FRAGMENTS, BINDER’S WASTE.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €300- €500
€2502 Bids
AN OTTOMAN QUR’AN IN A FITTED BROWN LEATHER SATCHEL
Oct 28, 2:00 PM BST
AN OTTOMAN QUR’AN IN A FITTED BROWN LEATHER SATCHEL
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £400- £600
£2202 Bids
GRANT OF ARMS TO A KEEPER OF MANUSCRIPTS
Oct 07, 10:00 AM EDT
GRANT OF ARMS TO A KEEPER OF MANUSCRIPTS
by Withington Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1102 Bids
MANUSCRIPT GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF KNIGHT HENRY BUTKENS, ALDERMAN OF ANTWERP.
Oct 07, 1:00 PM CEST
MANUSCRIPT GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF KNIGHT HENRY BUTKENS, ALDERMAN OF ANTWERP.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €150- €200
€1201 Bid
(5) Indo-Persian illustrated manuscript pages
Oct 12, 10:00 AM EDT
(5) Indo-Persian illustrated manuscript pages
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $60- $80
$301 Bid
H.M. King Edward VII Illuminated Manuscript, England, 1902
Oct 10, 7:00 PM EDT
H.M. King Edward VII Illuminated Manuscript, England, 1902
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
16th c. Manuscript Doc. On Vellum w/ Seal
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
16th c. Manuscript Doc. On Vellum w/ Seal
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$301 Bid
FOUR LITURGICAL MANUSCRIPTS FROM A CISTERCIAN MONASTERY.
Oct 08, 1:00 PM CEST
FOUR LITURGICAL MANUSCRIPTS FROM A CISTERCIAN MONASTERY.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €250- €400
€2001 Bid
Horace. Rare Facsimile of Medieval Manuscript
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Horace. Rare Facsimile of Medieval Manuscript
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $100- $1,000
$1001 Bid
17th-18th c. Manuscripts, Spain
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
17th-18th c. Manuscripts, Spain
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $50- $500
$501 Bid
A firman given by Khan Tarkhan, the prime minister of Mughal Emperor Nasir
Oct 28, 10:00 AM BST
A firman given by Khan Tarkhan, the prime minister of Mughal Emperor Nasir
by Roseberys
Est: £800- £1,200
£5501 Bid
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Pergolesi Giovanni Battista, La fenice sul rogo, overo / La morte di San Giuseppe [...]. Datato 1731.
Oct 11, 10:00 AM CEST
Pergolesi Giovanni Battista, La fenice sul rogo, overo / La morte di San Giuseppe [...]. Datato 1731.
by Gonnelli Casa d'Aste
Est: €180- €360
€1801 Bid
1865, Racist Manuscript Journal
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
1865, Racist Manuscript Journal
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $80- $800
$801 Bid
ILLUMINATED LITERARY MANUSCRIPT.
Oct 08, 1:00 PM CEST
ILLUMINATED LITERARY MANUSCRIPT.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €800- €1,200
€6001 Bid
Kings seated in a row, Bilaspur (Basohli), circa1680, from an unidentified
Oct 28, 10:00 AM BST
Kings seated in a row, Bilaspur (Basohli), circa1680, from an unidentified
by Roseberys
Est: £500- £700
£3601 Bid
Manuscript, Clock-Making, Mythology, 17th c.
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Manuscript, Clock-Making, Mythology, 17th c.
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $150- $1,500
$1501 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Manuscripts


Soler y Llach

Soler y Llach

Roseberys

Roseberys

Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen