Thursday, July 14, 2011

News Flash: "The Watsons" Manuscript Sells for a Record Price!!

Our reporter in London, JASNA-NYM Co-RC Meg Levin, tells us that the portion of JA's "The Watsons" manuscript on view at the New York Sotheby's last month (see the June 26 "A Belated Report from the Big Apple" post) has just sold for 850,000 pounds, or $1.3 million!! Believe us, we had this as breaking news: Meg attended the auction in person, and rushed to send a message to us on her iPod from the Apple store in Regent Street.

And now let's take a moment to imagine what JA, in her lifetime, could have done with 850,000 pounds. Sigh...

Update #1: The BBC website ( reports the final price as 993,250 pounds, which presumably includes all the usual auction house fees. It also reports that the purchaser is an institution, not a private individual--which means that the rest of us may get to see the manuscript once in a while in the future.

Update #2: Mags Sullivan reports on AustenBlog that the Bodleian Library at Oxford is the purchaser (although several other groups, including Jane Austen's House Museum, chipped in). And the Bodleian will be featuring the ms. in an exhibition this autumn! Huzzah!

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