Marquis de Sade text named French treasure, auction canceled

December 19, 2017

The original manuscript of "The 120 Days of Sodom or the School of Libertinage," by French writer Marquis de Sade is on display prior to the auction of the Aristophil Collections, in Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Top lots in an auction of rare manuscripts to be held this week in Paris have been withdrawn from the sale after the French state prohibited them from leaving the national territory and showed interest in buying them. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — An original manuscript for the Marquis de Sade’s “The 120 Days of Sodom” has been withdrawn from a Paris auction after the French government declared it a “national treasure” and banned its export.

Auction house Aguttes said Tuesday the French culture ministry has granted the most valuable lots in the auction the rare treasure classification and proposed buying them.

Following the ministry’s decision, a court receiver allowed Aguttes to withdraw the top lots from Wednesday’s auction and to negotiate their eventual sales directly with the government.

In addition to the Sade’s 1785 explicit text, the withdrawn lots include the 1924 manuscript for the first “Surrealist Manifesto” by French writer Andre Breton. The lots had a combined value estimated in the multimillion-dollar range.

De Sade is known for his libertine writings on sex.

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