Sotheby’s London announces that in a tense bidding battle yesterday, in its English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations sale, Charlotte Brontë’s autograph manuscript, The Young Men’s Magazine, Number 2, was sold for £690,850 / $ 1,069,229, more than twice the pre-sale estimate of £200,000-£300,000 – a record at auction for a manuscript by any of the Brontë sisters. The manuscript, dated 1830, written by a fourteen-year-old Charlotte Brontë, had never previously been seen by scholars. It was bought by La Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits, Paris, where it will be exhibited in January.
Peter Selley, Senior Director and Specialist in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department, said: “The record price set today reflects the huge international interest in Charlotte Brontë’s work and Sotheby’s was honoured to sell a manuscript of such importance and rarity. The tiny Young Men’s Magazine, written by Brontë at the age of 14, provides a fascinating insight into the development of one of history’s great literary minds and reveals the preoccupations which would characterise some of the best known scenes in her adult writing.”
The sale realised an above estimate total of £1.7 million / $ 2.7 million and was 64% sold by lot, 86% sold by value.
Other highlights from today’s sale included:
• Emily Brontë’s, Wuthering Heights, 1847, 3 volumes, presented to Ellen Nussey, which sold for £157,250 / $243,376, against an estimate of £70,000-100,000.
• Charles Darwin’s The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, 1868, which sold for £61,250/$94,797 against an estimate of £15,000-20,000.
•Aubrey Beardsley, A Self Portrait, which sold for £30,000/$46,000 double its pre-sale estimate of £10,000-15,000.