Sotheby's auction catalogs
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Founded in 1744 Sotheby's is one of the world's largest auction houses. For more than two hundred years it has played a central role in the sale of rare books and manuscripts. The catalogs in this collection were largely received directly from Sotheby's by the Penn Libraries and some contain annotations and other material added by librarians at Penn. Catalogs before the late 1980s generally do not include printed price estimates in the body of the catalog. These were often printed separately and inserted in the catalogue. Likewise, separate sheets listing the prices realized at the sale with names of buyers were frequently mailed to catalog recipients after a sale. This finding aid notes the presence of some of this additional material, but should not be presumed to be comprehensive in this area. The collection is arranged into 13 series by the location of sale. The vast majority of catalogs listed here were issued by Sotheby's London (1931-2016) or Sotheby's New York (1973-2016). In addition to catalogs from London and New York, the collection includes a smaller number of catalogs for Sotheby's auctions held in Amsterdam, Chester, Edinburgh, Florence, Geneva, Jerusalem, Milan, Monaco, Munich, Paris, Tel Aviv, and Zurich. Within each series catalogs are listed by date from oldest to most recent. Also note that after Sotheby's 1964 purchase of Parke-Bernet in New York, the firm's New York operations went by the name Sotheby's Parke Bernet until 1983. This finding aid includes Sotheby's catalogs from New York from 1973-2016 without noting the name change.
This finding aid serves as a guide to the more than 1,000 Sotheby's catalogs held in Print Coll. 42 as well as Sotheby's catalogs post-1930 which are not present in Print Coll. 42 but are held elsewhere in the Penn Libraries. Those catalogs with box and folder numbers present are in Print Coll. 42, those with library call numbers listed can be found in the Penn Libraries catalog, those listed as being in Print Coll. 28 are located in the Lawrence J. Schoenberg collection of catalogs.
Researchers interested in Sotheby's catalogs outside the time frame covered here should search the library's online catalog for individual titles.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Isabel Gendler
- Finding Aid Date
- 2018 January 17
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.