Bidding War for Rare Books

An antique collection of literature featuring an manuscript that is almost 1000 years old, has been sold at auction for nearly $500,000.

The 177-book haul, from the collection of Wellington man Edward E Simpson, who died in 1979, sparked an international bidding war when sold yesterday.

An 11th century Persian manuscript, written in 1059, was the highest seller, going under the hammer for $60,000.

It was bought by the Alexander Turnbull Library. "It sold way, way beyond expectations," Dunbar Sloane auctioneer Anthony Gallagher said, after it was earlier estimated at between $1000 and $2000.

The auction room was "bursting" and there were telephone links to bidders in Paris, London and the United States as the rare collection was sold to eager buyers.

It had expected to sell for up to $250,000 but went for $453,000.

- The Dominion Post