Loading Spinner

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

See all items

ION IDRIESS MANUSCRIPT CALLED “BROWN’S DOG” FROM 1924.
Apr 21, 12:00 PM AEST
ION IDRIESS MANUSCRIPT CALLED “BROWN’S DOG” FROM 1924.
by Sydney Rare Book Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD35013 Bids
ION IDRIESS MANUSCRIPT. BUFFALO HUNTING STORY, 1928.
Apr 21, 12:00 PM AEST
ION IDRIESS MANUSCRIPT. BUFFALO HUNTING STORY, 1928.
by Sydney Rare Book Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD4009 Bids
GASTRONOMISCH MANUSCRIPT GETITELD "KOOCK BOECK", AANGEVULD MET MEDISCHE EN HUISHOUDELIJKE RECEPTEN.
Apr 26, 1:00 PM CEST
GASTRONOMISCH MANUSCRIPT GETITELD "KOOCK BOECK", AANGEVULD MET MEDISCHE EN HUISHOUDELIJKE RECEPTEN.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €300- €400
€8509 Bids
A MINIATURE AND A MANUSCRIPT LEAF.
Apr 27, 1:00 PM CEST
A MINIATURE AND A MANUSCRIPT LEAF.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €100- €150
€1806 Bids
ORIGINAL ION IDRIESS MANUSCRIPT OF THE SHORT STORY “BARE-FANG” 1928.
Apr 21, 12:00 PM AEST
ORIGINAL ION IDRIESS MANUSCRIPT OF THE SHORT STORY “BARE-FANG” 1928.
by Sydney Rare Book Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD2506 Bids
RESALEH FORS NAMEH MOSSAVVAR (MANUSCRIPT OF ANATOMY OF A HORSE) DATED 1250AH
Apr 30, 1:00 PM BST
RESALEH FORS NAMEH MOSSAVVAR (MANUSCRIPT OF ANATOMY OF A HORSE) DATED 1250AH
by Plakas Auctions
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,7004 Bids
ROSARIUM JHESU ET MARIAE.
Apr 27, 1:00 PM CEST
ROSARIUM JHESU ET MARIAE.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €1,200- €1,500
€1,0004 Bids
MANUSCRIPT OF ION IDRIESS “HORRIE THE WOG-DOG” (1945).
Apr 21, 12:00 PM AEST
MANUSCRIPT OF ION IDRIESS “HORRIE THE WOG-DOG” (1945).
by Sydney Rare Book Auctions
Est: AUD400- AUD500
AUD2504 Bids
A KUFIC QURAN FOLIO, NEAR EAST OR NORTH AFRICA, 9TH/10TH CENTURY
Apr 30, 1:00 PM BST
A KUFIC QURAN FOLIO, NEAR EAST OR NORTH AFRICA, 9TH/10TH CENTURY
by Plakas Auctions
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,9003 Bids
[Popish Plot] Fitz-Harris Prosecution/Execution
Apr 27, 2:00 PM EDT
[Popish Plot] Fitz-Harris Prosecution/Execution
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$352 Bids
1493 NUREMBERG CHRONICLE ILLUSTRATED MANUSCRIPT SPREAD
Apr 21, 10:00 AM EDT
1493 NUREMBERG CHRONICLE ILLUSTRATED MANUSCRIPT SPREAD
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$1252 Bids
15th c. Manuscript Documents
Apr 27, 2:00 PM EDT
15th c. Manuscript Documents
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$702 Bids
Engineers Site Book for Peoria & Oquawka Railroad, c.1850,
May 01, 1:00 PM BST
Engineers Site Book for Peoria & Oquawka Railroad, c.1850,
by Flints Auctions Ltd
Est: £100- £200
£902 Bids
Sir Edward Stafford Signed Vellum Document
Apr 27, 2:00 PM EDT
Sir Edward Stafford Signed Vellum Document
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $50- $500
$501 Bid
Lot of 15th-17th c. Manuscript Documents
Apr 27, 2:00 PM EDT
Lot of 15th-17th c. Manuscript Documents
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $100- $1,000
$1001 Bid
Leopold I, Manuscript Letters
Apr 27, 2:00 PM EDT
Leopold I, Manuscript Letters
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $50- $500
$501 Bid
LETTER OF CONFIRMATION OF RENT IN FAVOUR OF THE ABBEY OF EPINLIEU (GHLIN).
Apr 27, 1:00 PM CEST
LETTER OF CONFIRMATION OF RENT IN FAVOUR OF THE ABBEY OF EPINLIEU (GHLIN).
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €150- €180
€701 Bid
NIZAM AL-DIN NISHAPURI: SHARH TAHRIR AL-MAJISTI, PERSIA, 16TH CENTURY
Apr 30, 1:00 PM BST
NIZAM AL-DIN NISHAPURI: SHARH TAHRIR AL-MAJISTI, PERSIA, 16TH CENTURY
by Plakas Auctions
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,6001 Bid
ION IDRIESS MANUSCRIPT CONTENT FOR “THE YELLOW JOSS” 1934.
Apr 21, 12:00 PM AEST
ION IDRIESS MANUSCRIPT CONTENT FOR “THE YELLOW JOSS” 1934.
by Sydney Rare Book Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD1001 Bid
ION IDRIESS EARLY DRAFT OF GOLD DUST AND ASHES (1933).
Apr 21, 12:00 PM AEST
ION IDRIESS EARLY DRAFT OF GOLD DUST AND ASHES (1933).
by Sydney Rare Book Auctions
Est: AUD100- AUD150
AUD501 Bid
Pope Innocent XI Papal Brief on Vellum c. 1680
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
Pope Innocent XI Papal Brief on Vellum c. 1680
by Atlanta Auction Gallery, ltd
Est: $250- $500
$1001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Manuscripts


Addison & Sarova Auctioneers

Addison & Sarova Auctioneers

Roseberys

Roseberys

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Jeschke Jádi Auctions Berlin GmbH

Jeschke Jádi Auctions Berlin GmbH