Bloomsbury Auctions

Bloomsbury Auctions is a specialist saleroom for antiquarian books, prints and maps. The business was founded as Bloomsbury Book Auctions in 1983 by Lord John Kerr, Frank Herrmann and David Stagg who ran the firm independently for 17 years.

The firm has gone through a number of changes in ownership since 2000.

Art advisers Gurr Johns purchased Dreweatts and Bloomsbury in 2017 and resumed auctions under the Bloomsbury brand the following year.


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Early printed book in Arabic elucidates interest at Bloomsbury Auctions

20 July 2020

One of the “very earliest books printed in Arabic by means of moveable type” made £18,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).

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‘First signature’ tablet hits the £140,000 mark at Bloomsbury Auctions

13 July 2020

A US collector is the new owner of a 5000-year-old tablet that contains the earliest-known record of any personal name in history.

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Tablet with ‘the earliest known record of any personal name in history’ offered at Bloomsbury Auctions

15 June 2020

An ancient writing tablet made famous by Yuval Noah Harari in his bestseller 'Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind' comes for auction in London next month.

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Medieval guide for female hermits blocked from export in hope of finding UK buyer

16 January 2020

The UK government’s arts minister Helen Whately has placed an export bar on a 15th century Middle English manuscript in the hope of finding a buyer to keep it in the UK.

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Whiskey ‘can cure your ailments’

02 December 2019

“Try a glass of Old Bushmills whiskey, your majesty, it is the whiskey all connoisseurs drink”. Not only that, but it seems this royally promoted tipple was “… recommended by Doctors in cases of Gout and Rheumatism as the most helpful drink”.

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Arabic printing pioneer at Bloomsbury Auctions

04 November 2019

A 1547 translation into Arabic of Euclid’s Elementa Geometrica sold for £17,000 as part of an October 23 sale of Islamic and Near Eastern works on paper at Bloomsbury Auctions (25/12% buyer’s premium) on October 22,

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Where to see and buy Islamic art in London this autumn

01 October 2019

The major auction houses host their biannual Islamic Art Week auctions in April and October, and this month a series of events and auctions are planned across the capital.

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Five lots to watch at auction this week including novelty Victorian silver, a George III tea caddy and a rare Middle English manuscript

01 July 2019

With estimates from £50-90,000, here are five previews from upcoming sales this week.

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Printed edition of Islamic medical text is healthy seller

20 May 2019

Billed as the first printed edition of the most authoritative medical text in the Islamic world, a 1593 copy of a work known in the English-speaking world as Avicenna’s ‘Canon of Medicine’ was part of a recent London sale.

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Single-owner collection devoted to modern first editions includes 1937 copy of The Hobbit

15 April 2019

Devoted wholly to modern firsts, a recent online sale presented the first selection of a single-owner collection – the second portion of which will be sold later in the year.

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Five lots to watch at auction this week including a Lowestoft pug, an undiscovered melody by Elgar and Russian avant-garde art

25 March 2019

With estimates from £150-15,000, here are five previews from upcoming sales this week.

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World Book Day focus: Five classic and collectable rare books going under the hammer this month

07 March 2019

Today marks World Book Day, and while the occasion is aimed at young people, it could also be a chance for rare book collectors to take stock of their libraries and investigate some top lots in store at future auctions.

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Anglo-Saxon binding cornerpiece is full of value

21 December 2018

Illuminated manuscript sales of recent times will be the subject of a future review, but seen here is something a little different in that line offered as the very first lot in a December 1 sale of such material held by Bloomsbury Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).

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Summer brings books and works on paper auction riches

06 August 2018

June and July brought a rich crop of auctions in London, around the country and overseas. A few of those sales and stand-out results have already been reported on these and the ATG news pages, but many more hammer highlights were achieved.

Canterbury bible

Medieval bible bought at auction to return to Canterbury Cathedral after 500 years away

02 August 2018

Canterbury Cathedral has bought a rare illuminated bible once owned by one of the last members of Britain’s monastic community before the Reformation.

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Pick of the week: Hours and centuries of famous owners

16 July 2018

Estimated at £200,000-300,000, the 'Hours of Isabella d’Este' sold at £340,000 (plus buyer’s premium) at Bloomsbury Auctions’ sale of Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures on July 10.

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Bidders keep eyes on the prize

21 May 2018

Bearing a title that translates as ‘The Book of Correction of Optics for those who have Sight and Mind’, an early 14th century Arabic manuscript made a much higher than expected £450,000 during the recent Islamic week of sales in London.

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Parisian Book of Hours with Russian princess link

05 March 2018

A Parisian Book of Hours dating to c.1440-50 was among illuminated or decorated manuscripts sold during in the closing weeks of 2017.

Dreweatts

Mallett reunited with Dreweatts and Bloomsbury after sale by Stanley Gibbons

31 January 2018

Antiques dealership Mallett has been reunited with its former stablemates Dreweatts and Bloomsbury following a £100,000 purchase by Gurr Johns-owned Dreweatts.

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Marilyn’s sultry happy birthday song to JFK

18 December 2017

The night, just three months before her death, that Marilyn Monroe sang ‘Happy Birthday’ in sultry tones at a Democratic Party fundraiser celebrating John F Kennedy’s 45th birthday caused quite a sensation.

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