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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.


Hortus sanitatis and the Atlas minéralogique de la France...

26 March 2001

A spread from a 1491 first edition of the most comprehensive and richly illustrated medical or natural history publication of the 15th century, the Hortus sanitatis.

Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding

26 March 2001

A 1690 first of Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, bound in contemporary English mottled calf gilt and formerly in Sir Isaac Newton’s library, that reached $190,000 (£131,035) was acquired by Freilich at the Haskell F. Norman sales of 1998, when the price was $200,000.

A familiar face in unfamiliar garb

19 March 2001

UK: A 1632 MANUSCRIPT plan by Johan Williams of the Maniera de Monk Lytons, alias Kentwell... in the Suffolk parish of Melford, executed in ink and watercolours and including details of Kentwell Hall and Melford church, sold for £2000, in this East Anglian sale, and other local lots included a three-year run of the Norwich Mercury (1801-04) at £500 and A.H. Patterson’s Broadland Scribblings of 1892, at £480.

Sacked for insolence by Pepys, but 50 years in post

19 March 2001

UK: THE FORMER Arpad Plesch copy of Sir Joseph Hooker’s 1855, first edition of Illustrations of Himalayan Plants which was sold for £19,500 in this Nottingham sale was featured in last week’s Antiques Trade Gazette (Issue No. 1480), but there were a few other interesting results in the natural history section.

Galileo Galilei’s Istoria e Dimostrazioni...

12 March 2001

UK: THE title page of a 1613, first complete edition of Galileo Galilei’s Istoria e Dimostrazioni..., containing his observations on the sunspots and his discoveries relating to the rotation of the sun – the first to contain Scheiner’s letters to Welser – which, bound in contemporary vellum, made £4500 (Quaritch) as an ex-Fort Augustus lot.

Via Crucis

26 February 2001

UK: ONE of the scarcer plate collections in the Phillips sale was Via Crucis, novellamente eretta nell’ Atrio del Santissimo Crocifisso della chiesa parochiale, e collegiata di S.Polo. Engraved throughout, this small quarto Venetian volume of c.1780 comprises 16 full-page illustrations of the Stations of the Cross by Leonardis after Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, plus 29 pages of text.

Dick Francis' Dead Cert

19 February 2001

UK: THE title page had a semi-circular portion excised from the outer margin, but this copy of the 1962 first of Dick Francis’ annual racing thrillers, Dead Cert, had a jacket and it sold for £2050 to Bromlea & Jonkers at Dominic Winter's sale held on January 31.

De Villa Dei's Doctrinale and Audubon’s Birds of America...

12 February 2001

US: ALTHOUGH literary manuscripts and first editions of the 19th and 20th centuries rather dominated the Christie’s New York sale of December 14, other areas of the market were represented in the catalogue, and illustrated here is a specimen of Dutch prototypography which sold at $26,000 (£17,930).

Heures de la Vierge manuscript

29 January 2001

FRANCE: THIS Heures de la Vierge manuscript, from Auvergne or the Lyon area (c.1485) fetched Fr215,000 (£20,5000) at Bondu on December 22. This Book of Hours (Use of Rome), 61/2 x 61/2in (17cm x 17cm), had a tired 16th century brown morocco binding but contained 14 full-page paintings influenced by Jean Colombe and artists from Bourges, and many of its 131 leaves (from a probable 135) had decorative borders with flowers, strawberries, fabulous creaturs and acanthus leaves.

Declaration of Independence sets $8.14m Web record

10 July 2000

SOTHEBY’S are celebrating setting the top price achieved for an object at auction on the Internet with the $7.4m paid on June 29 for a first printing copy of the American Declaration of Independence.

Illuminated manuscript of religious meditations

05 April 1999

UK: “THE richness of the language in which this manuscript is written speaks redolently of the period, and of the writer himself,” said the Phillips cataloguer of an illuminated manuscript of religious meditations which sold at £4400 to Quaritch.