FUNDRAISING NEWS: Charities win court battle to sell Conan Doyle manuscripts

A set of six rare Sir Arthur Conan Doyle manuscripts bequeathed to six charities by the daughter of the Sherlock Holmes author have been freed for auction after a legal battle over copyright.

Air Commandant Dame Jean Conan Doyle (Lady Bromet), who served as director of the Women's Royal Air Force from 1963 to 1966, left the manuscripts to the charities in her will.

However, an anonymous American individual went through several different US state legal systems to challenge the sale, claiming Lady Bromet did not own the copyright to the manuscripts.

The American courts have now ruled in favour of the charities, and the handwritten works, worth between £3,000 and £50,000 each, are now due to be sold at Christie's auction house on 19 November. The manuscripts include science fiction and war reporting, but no Sherlock Holmes.

The charities include the RAF Benevolent Fund, The Elizabeth Finn Trust, and Help the Hospices.

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