Posted on 06/17/2021 at 08:19 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Hold those bids — the collection of extremely rare and long-hidden Brontë manuscripts won’t head to auction just yet.

Sotheby’s has agreed to delay its auction of the private Honresfield Library so that a group of British libraries and museums has a fair chance at raising the $21 million needed to purchase it, reports the New York Times.

Literary scholars were both thrilled at the collection’s emergence and terrified that a private collector would buy it, possibly preventing the public from ever seeing its contents.

The group calling itself Friends of National Libraries is made of the following members: the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford, the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds and house museums dedicated to Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Robert Burns and the Brontës.

The treasures in the collection include a handwritten manuscript of Emily Brontë’s poems, with pencil edits by Charlotte Brontë; the family’s annotated copy of History of British Birds; and “diary notes” Emily and Anne Brontë wrote for each other.

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