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August 3, 2021: Library locations will reopen to Harvard students, faculty, and staff for the fall semester. See the full reopening schedule.

Auction Sales Catalogs

The Fine Arts Library holds auction sales catalogs from the United States, Europe, and Asia from the 18th century to present day.
A bound inventory and card catalog from the Walther and Ellen Bernt Collection.
Walther and Ellen Bernt Collection, Fine Arts Library

The Fine Arts Library provides access to resources in all formats to support auction, sales, and provenance research.

The library holds an extensive collection of more than 40,000 auction sales catalogs from the United States, Europe, and Asia from the 18th century to present day. It also maintains subscriptions to sales catalogs from major international auction houses.

Auction catalogs on the shelves in the Fine Arts Library
The Fine Arts Library holds more than 40,000 auction sales catalogs from around the world, from the 18th century to present day.
Fine Arts Library

The Walther and Ellen Bernt Collection includes rare auction sales catalogs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A collection inventory is available on request.

A significant number of auction sales catalogs are available in the Microforms Collection, including microfiche for the Knoedler Library and the Art Sales Catalogues, 1826–1860, and microfilm for Sotheby's sales catalogs from 1734–1980.

The library also provides access to selected electronic resources, databases, and indexes for auction sales results, including:

Accessing These Materials

Individual sales catalogs are represented in HOLLIS and may be requested for use in the Fine Arts Library's Special Collections Study Room.

Newer receipts may lack a record, but may still be requested via your HOLLIS Special Request account.

The Microform Collections and readers are located in the basement stacks level of the Fine Arts Library. A digital scanner is also available in the Reading Room on the first floor of the library.

Relevant electronic resources are listed in the Research Guide for the History of Art and Architecture and some may be accessed directly through Harvard Library's E-Research Portal.

Selected databases require a password; contact a reference librarian for access.

Contact

Fine Arts Library Reference Desk