Tiny Charlotte Bronte manuscript sold for $1.1M
A tiny Charlotte Bronte manuscript fetched a hefty price at auction in London, with the handwritten, unpublished work selling for more than $1.1 million.
Bronte wrote The Young Men's Magazine, Number 2 — described as a colourful tale of murder and madness — in August 1830, when she was 14 years old.
The auction house had given the manuscript a pre-sale estimate of up to £300,000 (about $480,000 Cdn), but the final price of £690,850 ($1,105,843.59 Cdn) more than doubled the estimate and set new record for the auction of a literary work by any of the Bronte sisters, Sotheby's said.
The 19-page, more than 4,000-word manuscript tells a story set in Glass Town, one of the imaginary worlds Bronte and her siblings dreamed up as children. The book also includes a passage similar to a scene in her famed novel Jane Eyre, which she went on to write about 17 years later.
The pages of the tiny book measure about 35mm by 61 mm.
On Thursday, France's Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits won what the auction house described as "a tense bidding battle" for the miniature work, which was put up for sale by a private owner. The Paris venue plans to display it in January.
The U.K.'s Bronte Parsonage Museum — located in former Bronte home in Haworth, West Yorkshire — had hoped to keep the rare manuscript in Britain, even receiving a heritage grant and a host of public donations in support of its appeal.
The Bronte siblings created six volumes of Young Men's Magazines, with four already at the Haworth museum and the whereabouts of the final one unknown.
"It belongs in Haworth and we are bitterly disappointed that scholars and members of the public may now not have the opportunity to study and enjoy it as part of our public collection," museum director Andrew McCarthy said in a statement.