Epistolae familiares by Cicero on vellum
One of only four known copies of ‘Epistolae familiares’ by Cicero printed on vellum at the Aldine press, Venice in 1502. It sold for £160,000 at Forum Auctions.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The two-day sale was held at The Westbury Hotel in central London, a short walk from Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ premises on Maddox Street where many of the Forum staff previously worked.

The new company was established by Stephan Ludwig, former owner and CEO of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, earlier this year. He has since been joined by Rupert Powell as deputy chairman and head of books who resigned from Bloomsbury Auctions in March having worked for the company for 31 years.

The series of Bloomsbury specialists who have also joined Forum include Dido Arthur, Justin Philips, Alexander Hayter, Max Hasler and Richard Carroll.

Opening Auction

The first sale on July 13-14 posted an 80% selling rate with 31% of the lots sold online.

It was led by a copy of Cicero’s Epistolae familiares printed on vellum at the Aldine press in Venice in 1502. Examples of the 1502 first edition are extremely rare and only four copies on vellum are known. Estimated at £150,000-200,000, it was a dedication copy illuminated with the arms of the dedicatee, Sigismund Thurzo.

It sold at £160,000.

Forum auctions twitter

Tweeting from the saleroom – how Forum Auctions celebrated the sale of their very first lot.

ATG understands that Forum Auctions originally planned to stage their first sale in September but, due to the volume of consignments, moved the date forward by two months.

Stephan Ludwig said: “The success of this week's sales are a testament to the professionalism and commitment of our staff, most of whom joined us less than three months ago. Whilst the hammer outcome is of course pleasing, an equally significant achievement is the performance of our integrated trading and e-commerce platform.”

Rupert Powell, who conducted the auction, said:  “We are absolutely delighted with how our first sale went; not just the results we achieved, but also the venue, the extremely positive response from customers and the fact that the whole operation went smoothly.”

Forum Auctions’ next sale will be held on September 22, again at The Westbury Hotel.