Letter written by Einstein in a sale selling autographed letters

How to Sell Historical Documents, Manuscripts and Letters

Get Started with an Estimate

Get Started with an Estimate
Register or log in to your Sothebys.com account to request an estimate of your letter, manuscript or document. Complimentary estimates are provided for each hand-written manuscript that meets our minimum consignment value ($5,000 in New York, £3,000 in London and HK$40,000 in Hong Kong).

Get an Estimate
historical manuscript signed by a famous person in an auction selling historical documents

Historical Documents Consigned with Sotheby's

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where should I sell my antique manuscript, document or letter?
    Sotheby's has been selling autographed letters, musical manuscripts and all types of hand-written ephemera since its founding in 1744, and our current-day specialists are distinguished experts in their field. When you submit your historical documents for appraisal, you can be assured that our experts will provide you with the most accurate valuation based on their assessment of the international market. Our appraisal process is easy and confidential to ensure that you can quickly receive a manuscript appraisal from our experts. When you are ready to sell, your dedicated specialist will help you navigate the auction consignment process to make it as seamless as possible.
  • How does Sotheby's determine how much my historical document is worth?
    Sotheby's specialists have decades of experience in appraising and identifying antique documents and letters. Simply submit clear photographs of the front and back of your manuscript or letter and our specialists will carefully review the item and determine its value. Specialist consider its age, rarity, history of ownership, condition, author, and other factors.
  • Can I sell my historical documents online if I consign with Sotheby's?
    Yes, indeed. Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts department invites participation in our online timed auctions. When you submit your letter, document, or manuscript for review by our specialists, they will consider it for sale in both online and live auctions.
  • How much does a Sotheby's appraisal of my antique manuscript or letter cost?
    Sotheby's does not perform appraisals but we do provide auction estimates for items we believe we can sell at auction. Our auction estimate appraisals are complimentary and do not cost you anything. We review all submissions and provide valuations for documents and manuscripts we believe we can sell at auction. We will inform you if your manuscript is not a good fit for a Sotheby's auction, and we will do our best to provide you with a recommendation of another venue to sell your document.

More information on how to sell with Sotheby's

Sotheby’s is your best resource to buy and sell a rare manuscript, old manuscript, antique manuscript, ancient manuscript, illuminated manuscript, handwritten manuscript, typed manuscript, original manuscript, autographed manuscript, music manuscript, historic manuscript, religious manuscript, gospel, homilies, sermon, speech, script, draft, literary manuscript, letter, poem, papers, scientific manuscript, treaty, treatise, declaration, archives, scrapbook, notebook, diary, ship’s log, deed, document, lecture, historical document, annotated book, corrected proof, typescript or writings on vellum, linen and paper.

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