• If you start a thread here you have permission to edit the thread and your posts indefinitely. So if the status of your sale or auction changes, please come back and update the thread.

Want to buy Manuscript (1 Viewer)

I have been looking on Abe and Ebay for my first Bukowski Manuscript or letter. It's important to me. I can afford it but I can't afford getting burned. If a kindred spirit has a piece that the community will help verify and value I won't waste their time.
It's difficult to properly value them at this point. Six-ten years ago, they could be had for a few hundred $US, but some avid collectors blew that market up to the point where you can't buy a signed Kleenex from Buk for less than ~$600. So, we could help you verify whether the article is genuine and what the current market is, but even paying current market is more or less getting burned, unless you find a deal in some hidden corner. Keep in mind that there are various incarnations of the manuscripts. For poems, the earliest may be original typed copies with a signature, but more often than not, you'll find the carbon copy Buk retained with (hopefully) an original signature (many of the originals have ended up in library holdings). Later, you might find a computer print-out or copy with a sig. As for letters, they are generally restricted to originals (the genuine articles) and, unless they are a couple of words, very expensive and often highly-decorated in Buk's hand.

Good luck with your quest. I wish I'd had some of these on my radar 10+ years ago, but alas...


Founding member
(many of the originals have ended up in library holdings)
Yep. The original poem typescripts are generally from 1968 or earlier, so when they come onto the market they naturally fetch the highest prices. Post-1968 original typescripts are very few and far between, but they have shown up from time to time. Though if you hold out for one of those you might find yourself holding out for many years. Or forever.

1946 - 1968: original typescripts
1968 - 1980: carbons
1980 - 1991: Xerox
1991 - 1994: computer printouts

But if you watch eBay for a few months you'll find carbons and Xeroxes. The selection ain't what it used to be, but they are out there. There's nothing on eBay right now, but watch this guy. He's sold more than a thousand manuscripts in the past ten years and he still lists a few occasionally. You can always buy from a book dealer - if you're willing to pay twice (or more) what you'd pay in an auction (on eBay or PBA, etc.).

As far as placing a value on them, that's nearly impossible, because the sale prices don't really follow any logical pattern (almost two years ago I bought an original typescript for $520 and a Xerox sold a week later for more than $700). Personally I don't find any value in the Xeroxes or computer printouts beyond the value of the signature, but people still pay good money for those things. Pretty much the same price a 70s carbon goes for. So that being said, I would hold out for a carbon. But of course price will ultimately depend on how many people want it.

As far as verifying whether a manuscript is genuine, I don't think we've ever seen one that isn't. Though there must be some out there...
Thank you for the insights. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. I am encouraged to read you have not seen a lot of frauds. Recently, I came across a couple of manuscripts I had seen a few years ago in The Continual Condition. There was also an interesting piece called "One for the Jag" that I had not seen elsewhere. I was wary. I will remain so but less so. Take care.
I only own 1 Buk letter. It's a computer printout from 1991. It's to John Martin and it concerns his feelings
about Jon Webb. I bought it as part of a lot about 2 months ago and I probably paid 300-400 for it.
The point is, I love the content of this letter. I really only try to buy stuff that for me is really meaningful,
regardless of future value. So if you really connect with something, the value is also what it means to you.
And if you don't own a copy of any of Buk's early Loujon work, they are also beautiful things to have as well.
Funny you should mention the Loujon press. I have a copy of "It Catches My Heart in its Hands" signed in December of 1963. It is beautiful. It is what brought me to this place. I have enjoyed every aspect of discovering and connecting with his work. So much so that I am saving my money to fund the treasure hunts. I am happy to have found this Forum. I feel a sense of community and understanding I have not felt in awhile.
[...] I wish I'd had some of these on my radar 10+ years ago
let me second that.
and let me 'third' it, even if there may not be such a thing in the English language.
finally let me not only 'forth' or 'fifth' it but go on to the infinite.

Ten years ago was a time for buying manuscripts just as 30 years ago was the time to buy limited-lettered-signed-firsts-with-original-paintings. I missed these ones too back then. (I guess I spent my money on candy at that time - or maybe Star-Wars-action-figures, I admit. 'Return of the Jedi' had just come out.)
Last edited:


Founding member
Hindsight is a bitch, but you might also consider that it's possible that 15 or 20 years from now people will be saying, "Man, I wish I'd been buying this stuff in 2013..."

And here we are. ;)
[...] it's possible that 15 or 20 years from now people will be saying, "Man, I wish I'd been buying this stuff in 2013..."
that's not "possible" - that's for sure.
looks like prizes have already just started to raise again.

starting bid: 240.-
estimated: 500.-
realized: 800.-
- EUROs that is!

... what's cool about it, are the hand-made corrections and even tipp-ex'es (can't remember seing Buk using tipp-ex before).
Last edited:


Founding member
800 Euros = 1115.44 US Dollars.
Tipp-Ex = Liquid Paper.

There are actually a lot of 70s manuscripts that have Tipp-Ex/Liquid Paper/correction fluid on them. Which must have been a tedious process considering he was also probably correcting the carbons. Those would be hybrid carbon/originals I suppose. Technically. If you were weird and obsessive.

When he moved to the IBM Selectric it looks like he started using correction tape, which, if I remember correctly, you could load into the Selectric on a optional second ribbon. If you were a rich author and could afford such luxuries. The corrections made with tape are more difficult to spot.
Those were the days, back in the late '80s and early '90s. I had an electric typewriter and the "ribbon" was more of a cartridge containing tape that looked much like what you'd find in an 8-track. The correction cartridge was a smaller unit with similar tape but in white that loaded on top of the main cartridge. Corrections made with those are barely detectable (as long as you corrected the mistake before you removed the paper from the roller). :eek:

Users who are viewing this thread