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Auction sales catalogs: find them, find what is contained in them: Microfilm or digital collections

Annotated bibliography of databases and print sources for finding information on works sold at auction, and for finding auction catalogs.

Featured resource: Art Sales Catalogues Online

Lugt number  179 
Begin sales  13-10-1701
End sales  following days
Place of sale  Amsterdam
Provenance  WITT (Jo. de)
Content  2nd part Sculpture Stones (engraved) Vases Antiquities Various 470, Coins Méd. 42


Page from the 1701 catalog detailed above, found through Art Sales Catalogues Online.  Note the annotations, in beautiful 18th-century script.

Full-text collections of auction sales catalogs

Art Sales Catalogues Online

Full-text database of art sales catalogues for major American and European auction houses, published from 1600 to 1900, based on Lugt (see under Union Catalogs tab for more information).  Catalogues can be searched by Lugt number, date, place of sale, provenance, content, auction house, and existing copies. The libraries database allows you to find libraries with holdings of art sales catalogues.  This database supplements and for the most part replaces the microfilm Art Sales Catalogues, 1600-1881 and Art Sales Catalogues, 1826-1860, below;  however, the microfilm collection can be useful in cases when the electronic catalog is not available.

Clark/Williams electronic resource


Art Sales Catalogues, 1600-1881 [microform].  Leiden:  IDC, 1994.
Art Sales Catalogues, 1826-1860  [microform].  Leiden:  IDC, 1997.

Complements Frits Lugt’s Repertoire des Catalogues de Ventes Publiues Interessant l’Art our la Curiosite (see under Union Catalogs tab).  Microfilm collection includes many of the art sales catalogues from 1600 to 1800 listed in Lugt, as well as other catalogs not listed in Lugt but found in various libraries.  Each catalog is filmed in its entirety.  Multiple examples are included of catalogs where unique annotations occur.  Printed guides accompany each section. 

See also the online database Art Sales Catalogues Online (above), which includes the full text of most of the catalogs included in the microform collection.

Microfiche collection, Ground Floor Compact Shelving


German Sales 1930–1945. Art Works, Art Markets, and Cultural Policy

 The Getty Provenance Index® Databases provide online access to German Sales Catalogs from 1930 to 1945. These catalogs represent a period of politically sanctioned Nazi looting of art during World War II and provide an indispensable resource for provenance research. More than 230,000 individual auction sales records for paintings, sculptures, and drawings have been obtained from these catalogs, each of which is searchable according to a range of parameters in the Sale Contents section of the database. Each record in the Provenance Index is also linked to the full PDF of its corresponding catalog residing at the website of the Heidelberg University Library.  The German Sales 1930-1945 database and the digitized catalogs can also be accessed through

Internet resource


Metropolitan Museum of Art.   American Association of Art collection

The American Art Association was an important New York auction house, created to operate the American Art Gallery and to promote American art, that was active from 1883-1923. 

Internet resource


Metropolitan Museum of Art.   Auction catalogs

This collection includes catalogs from a lengthy (and growing) list of American and European auction houses, currently spanning the years 1830 to 1989.  Use the"filter" categories on the left side of the screen to search for specific dates and auction houses ("creators"). The Met's Auction Catalogs collection is a growing set of digitized auction catalogs in the public domain, accessible through Content DM, a searchable database.

Internet resource