Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4449

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1951-2002

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 7.33 linear metres (37 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Bloomsbury Book Auctions | antiquarian book auctioneers


Administrative/Biographical history:

Bloomsbury Book Auctions was founded in March 1983 by three former employees of Sotheby's. Lord John Kerr (chairman and head of the new auction house) was a known figure in the book trade and had been for eighteen years head of Sotheby's book department; Frank Herrmann (in charge of Bloomsbury's financial and marketing requirements) was a director in charge of Sotheby's overseas operations, and a publisher and author in his own right; and David Stagg (Managing Director and organiser of the sales) who had worked for many years at Sotheby's Hodgson's Rooms in Chancery Lane and subsequently run the 'fast' book sales at the Aeolian Hall.

The company was set up as Kerr Herrmann and Stagg Limited trading as Bloomsbury Book Auctions. The premises of the new auction house were initially in the basement of Frank Herrmann's own house at 6a Bedford Square, and sales were held in local hotels. Within a year it was obvious that larger premises which could include a sales room on site were needed, and in August 1984 the business moved into 3/4 Hardwick Street, originally a four storey toy warehouse in Islington.

Bloomsbury Book Auctions was the first book auction house to be established in London for over 150 years; and was the only one at the time which concentrated exclusively on selling antiquarian books and manuscript material. It specialised in books, manuscripts, atlases, maps and prints, and was particularly interested in the sale of working libraries of an academic or specialist nature. With such specialisation and a high reputation in the book trade its success was almost immediate. Buyers and sellers came from all over the world. In 1993 tenth anniversary celebrations were held; five years later the business was sold by the original directors. The auction house continues to trade, although from March 2004 the name changed to Bloomsbury Auctions Limited, another move was made to Maddox Street in Mayfair, and the scope of items to be sold was expanded.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 1951-2002. There are three series in the collection, the first (LMA/4449/01) covering the administration of the business, and the latter two (LMA/4449/02 and LMA/4449/03) dealing with the auctions and sales, including a series of catalogues.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The material is arranged in three series - LMA/4449/01 (1976-2002); LMA/4449/02 (1951-2002); and LMA/4449/03 (1983-2002).

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the Corporation of London.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in 2002 (B02/096).


Publication note:

More information about the business may be found in Frank Herrmann's 1992 autobiography Low Profile - A Life in the World of Books.

DESCRIPTION NOTES Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: July to October 2009

Antiquarian booksellers | Booksellers | Communication personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Auctioneers | Mercantile personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Auctions | Business enterprises | Enterprises
Business administration | Business
Business management | Management
Business records | Documents | Information sources
Companies | Enterprises
Rare books | Books | Publications | Communications media | Information sciences
Sales | Trade (practice)
Sales catalogues | Auction particulars | Documents | Information sources
Antiquarian books x Rare books
Business x Enterprises
Business administration x Business management

Personal names

Corporate names
Bloomsbury Book Auctions | antiquarian book auctioneers