Paris - An original manuscript for the Marquis de Sade's "The 120 Days of Sodom" has been withdrawn from a Paris auction after the French government declared it a "national treasure" and banned its export.
Auction house Aguttes said Tuesday the French culture ministry has granted the most valuable lots in the 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 Wednesday's auction and to negotiate their eventual sales directly with the government.
In addition to the Sade's 1785 explicit text, the withdrawn lots include the 1924 manuscript for the first "Surrealist Manifesto" by French writer Andre Breton.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.