A book smaller than a baseball card written by Charlotte Bronte is one of the few pieces up for auction this weekend at what organizers call ‘the world’s finest antiquarian book fair’, along with manuscripts rare and books from sellers around the world.
The 62nd New York International Antiquarian Book Fairorganized by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America’s (ABAA), opens its doors again this weekend to lovers of rare books in a 55,000 foot armory in New York.
The fair opened for the first time on Thursday, with the main events taking place from Friday to Sunday – a return event for the festival which has been canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic.
One of the pieces that made waves ahead of the festival is an unpublished miniature manuscript written by famous British writer Charlotte Bronte when she was just 13 years old.
Just 15 pages long, the little book is hand-sewn inside its original brown paper covers. His asking price is reportedly set at US$1.25 million, according to at the BBC.
The front of the manuscript bears the text “A Book of Rhymes by Charlotte Bronte, Sold by no one and printed by herself”, in handwritten letters. At the bottom of the first page, the date “December 17, 1829” is written.
According to A press release by Maggs Bros. ltd. and James Cummins Bookseller, with booksellers bringing the manuscript to the festival, it will be the first time the manuscript has been on display in over a century, since an auction in 1916.
Previous manuscripts written by Bronte have attracted considerable interest recently, with seven of his miniature books selling for US$15 million in December 2021, according to the statement.
“A BOOK OF RYHMES is well known in the world of Brontë scholarship, for a mention appears in Charlotte Bronte’s Life of Mrs. Gaskell (1857) from the transcription of Charlotte’s own manuscript catalog of the books she wrote in 1829 and 1830, “the states of liberation. “However, the manuscript is entirely unpublished.”
Charlotte Brontë and her sisters Emily and Anne are known for their writings of the early 1800s. Charlotte’s most enduring work is Jane Eyre, a novel still read and celebrated today.
But before writing their famous novels, the Brontës produced many handmade stories. In 1829, when this newly rediscovered manuscript was written, the Brontës lived in the village of Haworth in Yorkshire. The sisters, together with their brother Patrick Branwell, created a rich fantasy world in which to play, for which they wrote poems and adventure stories, binding them together in tiny handmade books.
Bronte’s “Book of Rhymes” contains references to Canada – one of the pieces inside the manuscript is titled “Meditations During a Journey in a Canadian Forest,” according to the press release.
With 185 exhibitors, Brontë’s childhood writings are far from the only draw at the Salon du livre this year.
Some of the other high-priced exhibits include a collection of over 700 wine books and manuscripts dating from the 6th century through 2006. The collection, built by winemaker Sean Thackery, is worth $2 million.
Although many of the books and writings on sale at the Book Fair are antiques, some still have striking relevance today – a collection worth over US$2.1 million presented at the fair by the London merchant Peter Harrington contains over 800 books on the history of climate change and environmentalism. The collection covers 2,000 years of writing. Called “One Hundred Seconds To Midnight”, it was organized to make the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Other festival highlights include more than 220 books for $135,000 that belonged to the late singer Amy Winehouse, and a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” valued at $358. 000 usd.
And if none of that appeals to you, well, there’s always the watercolor album from 1860 featuring all the different types of ice cream carvings that it was possible to order from a specific chef in Austria , which sells for US$10,000 – or the US$15,000 theft of an illustrated manuscript that is the only surviving copy in the world, written by a Renaissance food writer in 1505 about the dangers of eating rich foods.