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New York (AFP) – Smaller than a playing card but exceptionally valuable, a 19th-century book of miniature poems made by English novelist Charlotte Brontë when she was 13 was unveiled in New York on Thursday.
Entitled “A Book of Rhymes (sic) by Charlotte Bronte, Sold by No One and Printed by Herself,” this 15-page, hand-stitched, brown paper manuscript dated 1829 includes a collection of ten never-before-published poems.
The tiny book had not been shown to the public since November 1916 and was auctioned off in New York for $520 at the time. It appeared at the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair on Thursday, but this time New York-based James Cummins Bookseller and London-based Maggs Bros have valued it at $1.25 million, on behalf of a owner who wants to remain anonymous.
“We are selling it on behalf of a private owner who found it in an envelope hidden in a book. And it only survived because it slipped into a book,” a representative for James Cummins Bookseller, Henry Wesselss, told AFP. .
There would be approximately more than twenty miniature works created by the author of “Jane Eyre” in private hands, and the existence of “A Book of Rhythms” has long been known to specialists, since it is mentioned in a Brontë’s biography published in 1857, two years after his death.
Raised in relative isolation in Yorkshire, England, Charlotte Brontë, born 206 years ago on April 21, 1816, her sisters and brother entertained themselves by weaving complex stories in a sophisticated fantasy world.
His imagination has given rise to novels acclaimed as classics of English literature, such as ‘Jane Eyre’ for Charlotte, ‘Wuthering Heights’ for Emily or ‘The Lodger of Wildfell Hall’ for Anne.
Like many female writers of the time, they first published their works under male pseudonyms.
The miniature volumes, intended to amuse the Brontë children’s toy soldiers, remained in the family until the 1890s, when they began to be sold to collectors in Britain and the United States.
As of November 2019, a miniature manuscript by Charlotte Brontë had sold for €780,000 ($850,000). Last December, a group of British libraries and museums also bought a collection of books and manuscripts, including seven miniatures of Charlotte, for 15 million pounds ($19.5 million).
© 2022 AFP