- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Auction house Sotheby’s says that it is selling an early Jane Austen manuscript _ the only major manuscript by the author still in private hands.

The auction house says the draft for “The Watsons” is the earliest surviving manuscript for a novel by Austen that was probably written in 1804.

It said Monday that the manuscript is estimated at 200,000 to 300,000 pounds ($322,027 to $482,995.)

The novel is incomplete and was written before Austen was a published writer.

It centers on a family of four sisters, the daughters of a widowed clergyman. It was not published during Austen’s lifetime.

The manuscript has not been at auction since 1988. It will be auctioned in London on July 14.

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