The Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library has an extensive number of auction catalogues within its collections. These have been divided into the following sections: Western art; Eastern art (not including Ancient Near East & Egypt); Ancient & Classical antiquities (not including China & Japan); and Numismatics.
This guide focuses on the art auction catalogues, with particular reference to Western art auction catalogues. Brief information concerning Ancient & Classical antiquities and Numismatics catalogues is listed at the bottom of the column on the left.
To identify Oxford holdings, use SOLO.
Use keyword searching (auction house or dealer name, word/s in catalogue title) plus year.
Example: christie paintings 1996
Can't find what you are looking for?
In former years, many (Western) art auction catalogues now held at the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library were not fully catalogued individually. This means that today a significant number are not individually listed on SOLO, and are therefore more difficult to locate. Some art auction catalogues are group-catalogued only (see group-cataloguing box below for further information) and others are handlisted only (see below for handlists). Some art auction catalogues may be listed in handlists and subsequently group-catalogued.
If you cannot locate the catalogue you want in SOLO it may have been group-catalogued.
What is group-cataloguing?
A group-catalogued record is a very minimal level bibliographic record. Group-cataloguing allows for boxes or runs of previously uncatalogued material to be recorded in SOLO. The items in the boxes are not listed individually on SOLO, rather a group-catalogued record provides a title based entry which briefly describes the contents of each box. Please see the documents below relating specifically to the group-cataloguing of the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library's holdings of Western art auction catalogues, which detail how you can locate them in SOLO.
Pre-1900 imprints of Western art auction catalogues are held in the Haskell Room, the Rare Books Room, or offsite "Closed stack". All pre-1900 catalogues in the Haskell Room and offsite are catalogued on SOLO. Some pre-1900 catalogues in the Rare Books Room are catalogued individually on SOLO, some are group-catalogued on SOLO and others are handlisted only. Please see the boxes in the left column for more information about group-cataloguing and handlists.
Non-UK based auction houses: overview
This collection is small and catalogues may be housed onsite on the 3rd floor, or offsite "Closed stack". Onsite collections are divided by country and then shelved chronologically by date of sale.
Finding catalogues for non-UK based auction houses
Many of the onsite catalogues for these auction houses are not on SOLO and may be handlisted only. Please see the column on the left for handlists. Catalogues housed offsite are either individually catalogued on SOLO, or group-catalogued and handlisted. Please see the document below for futher information about group-cataloguing of non-UK based auction houses' catalogues.
Any catalogues for non-UK based auction houses received after 2006 (whether on or offsite) are individually catalogued on SOLO.
Finding catalogues for UK based auction houses
With the exception of the very small Miscellaneous Britsh auction houses section, ALL post-1900 art auction catalogues held by the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library for the aforementioned auction houses are are in the process of relocating from the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World's 3rd floor to the Bodleian Libraries' offsite facility ( "Closed stack"). Any art auction catalogues received January 2014 onwards are listed individually on SOLO. These can be located by searching with keywords from catalogue title, auction house name and year. All Art, Archaeology and Ancient World holdings from c.1900 - 2013 are group-catalogued. Art auction catalogues up to January 2014 may also be listed in Art, Archaeology and Ancient World handlists. Please see the section in the left column for further information about group-catalogued art auction catalogues and how to locate them in SOLO.
The very small Miscellaneous British auction houses section for the years c.1900-2013 is located onsite on the 3rd floor. The catalogues are shelved chronologically by date of sale. These catalogues are not listed on SOLO, but may be listed in the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World handlists. Any art auction catalogues received January 2014 onwards, regardless of auction house, are individually listed on SOLO and housed offsite "Closed stack".
Catalogues for Christie's & Sotheby's art auctions were extensively collected at the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library until c.2008 when, due to the appearance of e-catalogues via the auction houses' websites, fewer print catalogues were received. Although the sequences are quite comprehensive, no sequence is complete. Any pre-1900 imprints are housed in the Rare Book Room or Haskell Room or offsite, see the section Pre-1900 Western art auction catalogues at the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library for further details. Post-1900 catalogues are housed offsite "Closed stack", see the section Post-1900 Western art auction catalogues at the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library for further details.
The document below provides an overview to the sequences of Christie's & Sotheby's art auction catalogues held by the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library.
Until 2018, approximately 30,000 of the Eastern art auction catalogues were held by the Eastern Art department of the Ashmolean Museum. These catalogues, which had never been added to SOLO, were transferred to the Bodleian Libraries and are in the process of gradually being added to SOLO. (Some Eastern art auction catalogues had already been added to the Bodleian Libraries collections and can be found on SOLO.)
See below for holdings details.
See below for holdings details.
Please note that these handlists do not cover all art auction catalogues held by the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library.