Skip to main content

Book Auction Catalogues: Bodleian Named Collections of Auction Catalogues

Auction & Booksellers’ Catalogues in the Bodleian Library: Catalogues of Printed Books

Bodleian Named Collections of Auction Catalogues

Several named rare book collections have particularly strong holdings of sale catalogues. These include ‘Mus. Bibl’ (‘Museum Bibliographicum’). Mus. Bibl. III contains over 800 volumes (but most consisting of many more individual items), being auction, booksellers’ and library catalogues from the 17th to the 19th centuries. They were brought together during the middle years of the nineteenth century, some from existing collections, others from purchases (including many from the dispersal of the collector Richard Heber’s library between 1834 and 1836), or current catalogues of the period. At X.3.27 is a manuscript catalogue, apparently compiled by P. M. Smith of ‘Sotheby’s sale catalogues in the Mus. Bibl. collections, etc.’

Francis Douce’s bequest in 1834 contained many copies of catalogues marked up by Douce himself, with the names of purchasers of books, and the prices they paid. More recent acquisitions rich in catalogues have included the Broxbourne collection, with material for the important work on catalogues by Albert Ehrman and Graham Pollard, The Distribution of Books by Catalogue (Roxburghe Club, 1965); and the considerable collection of catalogues acquired by the Bodleian as part of the bequest of Dr Brian Lawn in 2001.

Among the listings of modern book sales available in the Bodleian, mention should be made of the Jahrbuch der Auktionspreise für Bücher, Handschriften und Autographen, available from 1950 up to the present (current shelfmark Per. 2592 d.118).