A rare little Brontë book could set a sales record of $1.25 million

A small book created by Charlotte Brontë worth $1.25million (£957,393) is among the items on sale at what is billed as the ‘world’s best antiquarian book fair’.

Also on offer are a guide to tennis published in 1555, handwritten notes from the world’s first atomic bomb test, and Amy Winehouse’s library.

The four-day fair in New York is expected to bring fortunes to dealers.

Booksellers say sales have increased in recent years.

The 2022 New York International Antiquarian Book Fair is the 61st edition of the event, being held at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan.

Ahead of the event, much of the buzz has centered around a recently rediscovered miniature book written by English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë when she was just 13 in 1829. The event will mark the first time that the book will be publicly unveiled from a 1916 auction.

Owning a piece of history, however, doesn’t come cheap. The seller of the book is asking $1.25million (£957,393), which would be the highest ever for a female author. The previous record was set last year when a first edition of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” sold for $1.17 million in September.

Bronte’s book is far from the only eye-catching element.

A collection of wine books dating as far back as the 1500s compiled by winemaker Sean Thackrey, for example, is up for sale for $2 million, while a set of 800 books and manuscripts detailing hundreds of years of environmental and climate studies listed for $2.5 million.

A book believed to be the first world guide to tennis written by an Italian priest in 1555 ($45,000) and a rare old edition of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald priced at around $360,000 will also be on offer.

More contemporary collections on sale include a set of diagrams and notes from a medical group involved in the world’s first atomic bomb tests in 1945 – including the first mention of a “mushroom cloud” – and a collection of more of 200 pounds that once belonged to the late British singer Amy Winehouse.

The fair is held from April 21 to April 24.

Even though retail sales struggled in the first two years of the pandemic, book sales soared, with the Association of American Publishers reporting that 172 new independent bookstores opened in the United States in 2021 alone. .

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