Marquis de Sade text named French treasure, auction canceled

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The original manuscript of “The 120 Days of Sodom or the School of Libertinage,” by French writer Marquis de Sade is shown on display at an auction house in Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 19. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
The original manuscript of “The 120 Days of Sodom or the School of Libertinage,” by French writer Marquis de Sade is shown on display at an auction house in Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 19. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Paris (AP) – An original manuscript for the Marquis de Sade’s “The 120 Days of Sodom” was withdrawn from a Paris auction after the French government declared it a “national treasure” and banned its export.

Auction house Aguttes said the French culture ministry granted the most valuable lots in the December 20 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 the auction list and to negotiate their eventual sales directly with the government.

In addition to the Sade’s 1785 explicit text, the withdrawn lots included the 1924 manuscript for the first “Surrealist Manifesto” by French writer Andre Breton.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.