Sotheby's of London has long been internationally acclaimed as the most prestigious of auctioneers. In addition to handling entire estates and libraries, the firm has been intimately involved in the sale of some of the world's most valuable books, manuscripts, autographed letters, pictorial art and art objects, coins, medals, and maps.
The catalogs documenting these transactions have been published every year since 1733, and more than 21,000 of them are now available to students and researchers through this microfilm collection.
In and of themselves valuable collector's items, these catalogs document the names of the sellers, the specific items sold, and dates for every auction. In addition, many of the catalogs are annotated with the names of the buyers and the prices fetched. For collectors, curators, numismatists, antiquarian book dealers, and historians, this represents a single-source research opportunity.
For art historians, Sotheby's catalogs are tools for tracing the ownership of specific works of art, for testing authenticity, and for following the often meandering path of art ownership from country to country.
Literary researchers can now chronicle the history of artistic and literary tastes since 1734, track the development of international connoisseurship, and study the economics of art as it changed over time.
Important information is provided by these catalogs on such events as the sale of the libraries of Henry Fielding, Edward Hyde, Thomas Martin, Joseph Addison, James Boswell, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and Robert Southey. Important sales of the first editions of Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, and others are also documented.
This collection is divided into five chronological parts and was filmed by UMI® through the cooperation of the Huntington Library, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, the British Museum, and the University of Illinois.