The UK and US Book Departments at Bonhams offer only the finest printed and manuscript material, ranging from early illuminated manuscripts and incunabula through natural history, literature, art, music, Americana, fine bindings and private press, and vernacular photography.

In addition to our general Books & Manuscripts auctions, we hold regularly scheduled themed sales in Exploration and Travel Literature, History of Science, Space History, and the 20th Century. Other past themed auctions include The Mapping and Exploration of America, Illustration Art, World War II: The 70th Anniversary, and Russian Literature and Photographs. We are always eager to explore new collecting areas and are happy to work with consignors to develop specialty sales.

Bonhams also handles high profile single owner collections, which have included The Estate of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes; Wassenaar Zoo: A Dutch Private Library; The Medical & Scientific Library of W. Bruce Fye; The Library of the Late Hugh Selbourne, MD, Parts I and II; Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part III, IV and VII; Law Books: Property of LA Law Library, Parts I and II, The American Experience: 1630-1890; and The Xi'an Incident: The Papers of Hyland "Bud" Lyon.

Bonhams books and manuscripts department holds world auction records for works by Aristotle ($941,000), John Keats (£181,250), Alan Turing (both manuscript and printed book, $1,025,000 and £205,250), Christopher Columbus ($751,500), Karl Marx (£218,500) and Robert Boyle (£362,500), and for a presentation copy of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter (£106,250). We have handled, Einstein's violin ($516,500) and an Apple 1 computer ($905,000). Amongst cartographic material, the Canadian papers of Sir John Coape Sherbrooke stand out (£433,250), and photographic highlights include images by Clementina Hawarden (£115,250) and Francis Frith (£337,250).


Upcoming Auctions