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.


Lost Elgar masterpiece found in autograph book is heard for the first time in 100 years as it heads to auction

14 March 2019

A rediscovered melody by Sir Edward Elgar will be offered at auction in Lichfield after it was found in an autograph book.

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Rare manuscripts stolen from London auction house recovered in Italy

11 February 2019

A group of illuminated manuscripts valued at £100,000 that were stolen from a London auction house in 2016 have been recovered in Italy.


Pick of the Week: Captain Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic provides cracking polar selection at Stroud

21 January 2019

Ephemera, photos and, remarkably, a penguin egg relating to Captain Robert Scott’s ill-fated 'Terra Nova' Expedition to the Antarctic in 1910 were eagerly contested in the room, on the phone and online at Stroud Auction Rooms’ latest sale.

vellum coat of arms

Armorial parchment given to Columbus on his return to Spain offered in Madrid auction

12 December 2018

On March 15, 1493, Christopher Columbus disembarked from his ship in Palos and headed straight to Barcelona where he recounted tales of his discovery of America to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

Aaron Dean of Trevanion & Dean

Bidders snap up letters from Pre-Raphaelite patron’s collection at Trevanion & Dean auction

21 September 2018

A group of 66 letters from the collection of an important patron of Pre-Raphaelite artists raised a £25,000 total at Shropshire auctioneers Trevanion & Dean.

Su Shi's Song Dynasty scroll

Christie’s to offer major Chinese rarity as Song Dynasty scroll is given £40m estimate

03 September 2018

An extraordinarily rare artwork by pre-eminent Chinese scholar Su Shi (1037-1101) will be offered at Christie’s Hong Kong later this year. The auctioneers are hoping that it could make a record for any Asian work of art.

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.