If you are a true collector of rare books and manuscripts, then you probably realize you can’t put a dollar amount on the personal pleasure you will get from owning a piece of true literature and/or history. But the reality is that the prices to buy a rare piece can be extremely steep, since the finest items are in the highest demand. So if you have the money to spare and you are willing to spend whatever it takes, then you might just be to add one of the most coveted pieces to your own personal library.
Top 10 Book and Manuscript Sales
Many of the most valuable and historical books that have sold in the past few decades have transferred hands by auction. Some of the bidding has gone into the millions as people compete to own unusual works of literature and art and rare first editions. From presidential correspondence to ancient religious illustrations, there is something out there for almost anyone’s tastes. Here is a sampling of some of the most expensive sales that have been completed in recent years-
10) Abraham Lincoln Letter
A letter written in 1864 by Abraham Lincoln recently set a record for the highest price ever fetched by a presidential manuscript. This document was written by Lincoln in response to a petition signed by 195 children who asked the president to free all young slaves in the United States. Lincoln replied that he was touched by this request and although did not have the power to grant their wish, he reminded them that God did have the will to do this. This manuscript was put up for sale by the Dr. Robert Small Trust and was sold at auction by Sotheby’s to a private collector. The final selling price for this rare piece of history was $3.4 million.
9) Vita Christi Manuscript
A very old and very unusual English manuscript containing more than 100 hand-painted pictures illustrating the life of Christ recently sold at auction. Called the Vita Christi, this rare work of art was created in two different eras. The first batch of about half of the small drawings are thought to originate from the end of the twelfth century, while a second round of miniatures is said by experts to have been added in the late fifteenth century, completing the final work. This piece was recently sold by Sotheby’s in London to a German collector, who paid $3.5 million for it.