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Manuscript

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.


Book

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.

Washington painting

America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton takes centre stage as letters head to auction

13 January 2017

America’s previously neglected founding father Alexander Hamilton is now firmly back to prominence after the Broadway hit ‘Hamilton’, which won eleven Tony Awards last year. The show is now coming to London's West End this year.

Beethoven manuscript at centre of attribution debate fails to sell at Sotheby’s

29 November 2016

A musical manuscript at the centre of a row over whether it was handwritten by Ludwig van Beethoven or a copyist has failed to sell at an auction at Sotheby’s.

Barry Cunningham

JK Rowling's hand-written and personalised 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard' comes to auction

05 November 2016

The publisher of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books is to auction his copy of 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard' at Sotheby’s next month.

Photograph of Wilbur and Orville Wright

Hand-written speeches by John F Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt go to auction

15 October 2016

A hand-written and autographed speech by President John F Kennedy is among the lots from Malcolm S Forbes’ estate to be sold at auction next week.

Thousands of ‘frozen’ manuscripts from bankrupt Aristophil fund to return to market

28 July 2016

Historical documents and manuscripts from the scandal-hit Aristophil investment scheme could soon return to the market as the slow process of restitution promises to quicken in the coming weeks.

Emancipation Proclamation of 1863

Signed copy of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to be offered at Sotheby’s New York

20 May 2016

A signed copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 promising freedom to all slaves in the rebel states will be offered at an upcoming Sotheby’s sale in New York.

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Signature of Button Gwinnett, the forgotten man who signed the Declaration of Independence, emerges at Shropshire auction

16 October 2015

“Button who?” When Shropshire documents consultant Ben Jones was told that an American client was considering selling the clipped signature of Button Gwinnett he reached for the search engine.

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Rare Boccaccio manuscript at Florence Biennale

18 September 2015

Florence’s longstanding Antiques Fair, the ‘Biennale Internationale dell’ Antiquariato di Firenze’, opens next week in the city’s 17th century Palazzo Corsini, running from September 26 to October 4.

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Handel manuscript emerges at Berlin auction

11 March 2015

Only one other major George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) manuscript has come up for auction in the last 40 years, so Stargardt in Berlin can be assured of an international audience for the extensive autograph work they will offer on March 24-25.

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Chamberlain’s other piece of paper

11 August 2014

The ‘piece of paper’ waved by Neville Chamberlain on his return from meeting Hitler in 1938 must count as one of the most infamous documents in history.

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Illuminated manuscript takes $12m at Christie’s

03 February 2014

The book of hours known as The Rothschild Prayerbook sold for $12m (£7.55m) at Christie’s in New York.

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Passover manuscript sets £210,000 record

26 November 2013

Cheshire auctioneers Adam Partridge set a house record when this newly discovered copy of the Passover Haggadah written and illuminated by the celebrated 18th century scribe Aaron Wolf Herlingen sold for £210,000.

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The birth of British newspapers comes to auction

28 October 2013

Little did “the Reverend Dr Walter Blandford Warden of Wadham Colledge” of Oxford University realise that one day his name would have such significance in the world of newspapers.

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Remarkable Haggadah discovery in Manchester

23 September 2013

Cheshire auctioneers Adam Partridge have discovered a copy of the Passover Haggadah written and illuminated by the celebrated 18th century scribe Aaron Wolf Herlingen in Vienna.

Bard folio sale stop

09 September 2013

The University of London is reported to have cancelled plans to auction off a rare set of four early Shakespeare folios to raise funds for further acquisitions.

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‘The most important early printed book of this century’

20 May 2013

Billed as “the most important early printed book to be offered this century”, a deluxe vellum copy of the ‘Opera’ of Virgil is being offered at Christie’s on June 12.

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Mishneh Torah sold in private deal

07 May 2013

The Mishneh Torah was withdrawn from a recent Sotheby’s sale at the eleventh hour after vendors Michael and Judy Steinhard struck a private treaty sale with The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Documents of Cornish history

21 March 2013

For those with Cornish ancestors or a general interest in the area’s history, David Lay’s sale of Part I of the Pendarve archive on March 26 in Penzance may well be of interest.

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Major Beatrix Potter collection heads to auction

08 February 2013

An important private collection of Beatrix Potter books, manuscripts, artwork, photographs, figurines and collectables is being offered for sale at Bloomsbury Auctions on February 27.