Antique Manuscripts

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Discover the allure of the hand printed page with antique manuscripts

As we traverse through the age of the digital, the allure of the printed page persists and indeed heightens in the case of hand-painted pages. The sheer art of antique manuscripts and books are a testament to the painstaking quality and detail that went into producing these ancient objects.

Purchasing these antique collectibles may seem like a daunting task but it's very much like searching for any other antique. Begin with what attracts you most and then undertake research around the particular element that interests you about the item that have caught your eye. Often libraries have catalogues where rare manuscripts are archived, and much of your research can be done with the help of a knowledgeable librarian.

It may be the type of binding or quality of decorative medieval map, or reference to a significant historic event or perhaps you wish to give a first edition book as a gift to a loved one. Whatever it is that's attracted you to sourcing and searching for rare manuscripts, you're sure to find something to add to your collection here on eBay.

Types of antique manuscripts

Illuminated manuscripts feature decoration, referred to as initials, borders that are also known as marginalia, and miniature illustrations complement the text. Strictly speaking, it refers only to manuscripts decorated with precious materials of gold or silver, but across scholarship and modern use, the term now makes reference to any manuscript from Western tradition that is decorated or illustrated.

First edition books are the very first edition of a book to be distributed commercially.

Vellum manuscripts, from the Old French vélin, meaning calf's skin are also available. The skin was stretched out, dried, and then refined until it was thin and very slightly translucent. The final result was a paper that was very strong and durable, intended for vital documents requiring longevity.