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.


Medieval initials add a touch of colour to Bloomsbury sale

15 August 2022

The two cut-out and trimmed coloured initials illustrated here are part of a group of six, taken from two manuscripts of 12th century French origin, that made up a lot sold for £10,000 in a July 6 sale held by Bloomsbury Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).


Larkin leaps to five figures twice

13 June 2022

Two volumes of poetry offered in London auction were published by the Marvell Press.


Dedicated to Apollo

07 February 2022

Undoubtedly one of the more unusual lots to have featured in these reports over the years, the 3½in (9cm) wide piece of gold foil pictured here bears an Orphic poem by one Agestratos, who dedicates his brief verses to Apollo in what is thought to be Doric Greek.


Treasure of an ‘impoverished enthusiast’ sells at Bloomsbury Auctions

16 August 2021

A richly illuminated leaf from a late 15th century manuscript account of the life of St Catherine sold at a high-estimate £30,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).


Arabic work presents ‘complete book of the medical art’

21 December 2020

A rare complete copy of a famous Arabic medical text sold for £30,000 in a sale of manuscripts and other works on paper from the Islamic and Near Eastern worlds.


Islamic & Indian art: a selection of hammer highlights including a painting of Mehmed II

12 October 2020

A selection of stand-out Islamic & Indian auction results.


Golden oldies: abbey archive and penitential work for preachers

24 August 2020

Sold at £140,000 in the first of two early manuscript sales held by Bloomsbury Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) on July 8 was a lot featured in the front page story in ATG No 2447.


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).


‘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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).