Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jane Austen manuscript sells for more than £990,000

A rare Jane Austen manuscript has sold for £993,250 ($1.6m) in London, three times more than its estimated price.

Auction house Sotheby's had originally valued the unfinished novel - entitled The Watsons - at £200,000-300,000.

The manuscript, originally owned privately, was purchased by an institution.

It is thought Austen wrote the tale, about a young woman who returns home to her father's household after being brought up by a wealthy aunt, in 1804.

The work is particularly important because few of Austen's draft works have survived, with the exception of two draft chapters of Persuasion, Lady Susan, and Sanditon.

Sotheby's specialist Gabriel Heaton said this piece of Austen's work is "particularly informative" because it is "very much a working draft".

Every page is littered with crossings out, revisions and additional text between some of the lines.

The auction house said the anonymous buyer was successful after an extended four-way bidding war in the salesroom.

"We are thrilled by the sale of the earliest surviving manuscript for a novel by Jane Austen today," Mr Heaton said.

Austen published six complete novels, including Pride and Prejudice and died in 1817 at age 41.

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