Auction of a rare AA manuscript will take place in New York City

Published 3:36 pm Friday, April 14, 2017

NEW YORK — A 161-page typed manuscript that became the guiding text of Alcoholics Anonymous will get its first public exhibition next month before being sold at auction.

The auction firm Profiles in History announced Wednesday that it will sell the 161-page typed manuscript on June 8 in California. The document is expected to fetch $2-3 million. It will be displayed for three days at the Questroyal Fine Art gallery in Manhattan from May 18-20, giving the public a glimpse at the text that is known to AA adherents as the “Big Book.”

The manuscript includes numerous handwritten notes, some of which were made by Alcoholics Anonymous co-founders William Griffith Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. Wilson, who is known within the group as Bill W., left the manuscript to his wife, Lois, when he died in 1971. The manuscript’s title page includes an editing mark to strike an apostrophe from the suggested title, “Alcoholic’s Anonymous.”

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First published in 1939, the tome includes the famous 12-step program aimed at stopping addiction.

It has sold more than 30 million copies and in 2012 was named by the Library of Congress as one of the 88 “Books That Shaped America.”

The manuscript was reproduced in 2010 for a release, “The Book That Started It All.”