Unfinished Jane Austen Manuscript Sells for $1.6M Draft of 'The Watsons' is Austin's earliest surviving manuscript By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Jul 14, 2011 10:15 AM CDT 0 comments Comments Experts at Sotheby's say the manuscript has given insight into Austin's writing process. (Wikipedia) (Newser) – An unfinished early Jane Austen manuscript sold at auction in London today for three times its highest pre-sale estimate. The draft of The Watsons sold for $1.6 million to an anonymous buyer after extended four-way bidding in the salesroom. The incomplete work is the earliest surviving manuscript for a novel by Austen, probably written in 1804 but not published in Austen's lifetime. It centers on a family of four sisters, the daughters of a widowed clergyman. A Sotheby's books specialist said the heavily corrected draft "has afforded an extremely broad audience an insight into the author's writing process and reworkings." Sotheby's says it is the only major manuscript by the author still in private hands. Austen published six novels, including Pride and Prejudice, and died in 1817 at age 41, but none of the original manuscripts survives.