Aristophil went bankrupt after the founder Gérard Lhéritier was charged with fraud and money laundering in 2015. The collection consists of a total of 135 000 items, and Claude Aguttes har been appointed by the Commercial Court to organize the sales.

With so many lots, it is hard to know where to look first, but fear not, the auctions are divided into themes (Origin(s), Postal History, Fine Arts, Literature and Music).

The series begins with the Sale “Origins – Texts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance” on 16 June. Forty-five manuscripts, charters, incunables and prints will go under the hammer, for a global estimate of €4,5M. The sale is a French-history lesson in miniature, as it features letters from Marie de Medicis, Henri IV and Jean the Good.

Kings are not the only ones writing letter though – painters were great pen pals too! On 18 June, the Fine Arts sale is an exceptional mix of letters and notes by Boucher, Delacroix, Ingres, Sisley, Gauguin, Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Giacometti, Miró

Poets and writers are the stars of the 19 June sale, with the likes of Céline, Huysmans and Wilde taking centre stage. The autograph manuscript of Victor Segalen’s masterwork Stèles, written in China, is the most coveted lot of the sale. It is estimated between 100 000 - 120 000 €.

The endnote is given by the music sale, playing to the tune of over three centuries of musical geniuses. It’s not all about music, however: a shopping list penned by Beethoven around 1817 carries an estimate of 50 000 - 60 000 €!

Check out Aguttes’ Aristophil lots on Barnebys!