Books & Manuscripts


The Books and Manuscripts department has been the dominant force in the market since Sotheby’s began as a book auction house in 1744. Our international team of specialists with their depth of knowledge and global reach have established Sotheby’s as the leading seller in this diverse field with sales from the past five years exceeding $390 million. They work in tandem with Sotheby’s regional representatives around the world to deliver outstanding results.

Sotheby’s Book Week takes place in late June-early July and December each year across our Paris, London and New York locations and features fine examples of books spanning continents and centuries, historical and musical manuscripts, illustrations, Americana, and much more.

We have been entrusted with exceptional single owner collections including that of Freddie Mercury, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, Jorge Ortiz Linares, the Fairhaven Natural History Library, the T. Kimball Brooker Renaissance Library and the Ricky Jay collection. In 2023 we broke several records, including the most valuable book ever sold, Codex Sassoon, for $38.1 million. 2022 saw the sale of the most valuable document ever sold, the United States Constitution, for $43.2 million.

We offer exceptional books and manuscripts from the middle ages to the 21st century. Spanning a wide range of categories, our specialisms include Americana, literature, history, early printing, medieval manuscripts, music manuscripts, travel and exploration, maps and atlases, natural history, autograph letters and documents, original book illustrations and modern first editions.

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Contact Us

+1 212 606 7385
+44 (0)20 7293 6182
+33 1 53 05 53 19

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