Simply speaking, a manuscript is either a handwritten text or an early, unpublished copy of a book or other work - generally, anything that hasn't been printed or mechanically reproduced in any way. Early manuscripts date back centuries and include everything from scrolls hand drawn on rice paper to original historical documents to religious texts. Before the invention of the printing press made printed materials more readily available around the world, all books and texts were written and duplicated by hand. Although some of these works have survived through careful preservation, many of them have been lost to time, making many of the remaining original manuscripts valuable and sought after by collectors.
Some of the most famous handwritten manuscripts that remain today include the Herculaneum Papyri, the only extensive collection of texts that have survived from the classical world. These scrolls were buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and are still being examined and translated by scholars today. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Israel have great historical value and offer a look into the world during the time of Jesus. Leonardo di Vinci wrote the Codex Leicester in the early 16th century, which includes many of his drawings and diagrams. While these important documents are found only in museums and private collections, there are many collectible manuscripts available to scholars and others who want to read and display these antique works.
You can buy manuscripts from our sellers here, including original botanical and pharmaceutical texts and illustrated scrolls. Handwritten manuscript copies of books and stories from published authors are also extremely collectible, offering a look into first drafts of famous works and additional unpublished writings. You can also find speeches, letters, and notes handwritten by political figures, former presidents, and writers; these personal writings can give you a glimpse into the minds of those who composed them.