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.

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.


Bonhams New York offers eight-page Isaac Newton manuscript

19 February 2018

Among the lots offered in the March 9 Books and Manuscripts auction at Bonhams New York is an Isaac Newton work now with parallels to the rather more modern Harry Potter books.


Aristophil trophy lots declared ‘national treasures’

02 January 2018

The Marquis de Sade’s manuscript, '120 Days of Sodom', and André Breton’s 'Surrealist Manifestos' have been declared national treasures by the French government and were withdrawn from a planned auction.

Marquis de Sade’s manuscript

French government declares the Marquis de Sade’s manuscript, 120 Days of Sodom, a national treasure

19 December 2017

The Marquis de Sade’s manuscript, 120 Days of Sodom, and André Breton’s Surrealist Manifestos have been declared national treasure by the French government and have been withdrawn from a planned auction tomorrow.


December date for first Aristophil manuscript sale

20 November 2017

After a two-year wait, lots from the defunct manuscript investment scheme Aristophil will be resold at the Drouot in Paris next month.


Multi-million-pound collection of manuscripts from the scandal-hit Aristophil to be auctioned in Paris

16 November 2017

A huge collection of manuscripts from investment scheme Aristophil will finally be resold in Paris after a two-year wait.

 John F Kennedy documents

Purchasing Powers – dealer offers archive of John F. Kennedy speeches for sale at £375,000

03 November 2017

One of the largest collections of original John F. Kennedy documents remaining in private hands is being offered for sale by a London book dealer.

Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden auction lot recalls infamous New England axe murder trial

25 October 2017

'No, you can't chop your Poppa up in Massachusetts', the refrain from a once hugely popular song, and the verse from a skipping-rope rhyme with which this article ends, both derive from the controversy that continues to this day regarding one of America's most famous murder trials – and to a legal document sold on October 19 by Heritage Auctions of Dallas.

Ship logbook Australia

Logbook recording brutal treatment of teenage 'exiles' transported to Australia sells for £11,000 at Gloucestershire auction

10 October 2017

A logbook recording three voyages to Australia and the Far East made in 1847-52, two of them transporting young prisoners, or 'exiles', to Australia, led Dominic Winter’s latest sale.

Sheridan’s ‘School for Scandal’

Manuscript copy of Sheridan’s ‘School for Scandal’ takes £3100 at Gloucestershire auction

14 September 2017

Bid to £3100, some ten times the high estimate, a contemporary manuscript copy of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s ‘The School for Scandal’ sold at a recent Dominic Winter sale.

Pirate document

Pirate-hunter manuscript offered in selection of Venetian documents at Christie’s

07 July 2017

It was known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice but life in the Italian city state could be turbulent. The maritime republic spanned the 8th to 18th centuries though opportunities to amass power and wealth were challenged by outside threats, particularly from the Ottoman Empire. Among a group of documents on offer at Christie’s is one which recalls the city’s naval endeavours - a commission for the pirate-hunter Benedetto Pesaro.


Illuminating Brussels result at 18 times the top estimate

22 May 2017

An unexpected highlight of an April 28-29 sale held by Brussels saleroom The Romantic Agony (24% buyer’s premium), was a leaf from an illuminated manuscript.

‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ for Aristophil

25 March 2017

The legal impasse surrounding the restitution of thousands of historical documents and manuscripts from the scandal-hit Aristophil investment scheme was finally broken last week.

illuminated Gospels

10th century Gospels return to Germany at $3m

25 March 2017

Following a deal between the German state and specialist manuscripts dealer Les Enluminures, this 10th century illuminated Gospels created at Liesborn Abbey will return to Westphalia.


Rare book trade hit by shocking £2m theft

13 February 2017

The antiquarian book trade has suffered one of its biggest-ever thefts after an audacious robbery in west London.