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Antique Shelves & Bookcases

Early clay and stone tablets, along with later scrolls and papyrus rolls, were kept in some kind of order by the ancients. Once the bound manuscript was invented, volumes decorated with jewels, thick covers, and metal mountings resembling shackles were stored in trunks or chained to the desks of the monks who watched over them. These inconvenient methods for storing books, along with the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, gave rise to the development of bookshelves.

With developing technology for affordable book manufacturing came access to affordable bookshelves. Antique bookcases developed in several styles. The low bookcase created by French designer Charles Andre Boule was popular after 1700. Within the next century, hundreds of models of both low horizontal and tall enclosed bookcases were available. By the 18th century, the secretary combined a desk with shelving for books.

Antique bookshelves are now prized both for their form and function. They can sell for thousands at auction, particularly those from the 19th and 20th century Arts and Crafts movement.


Quick Facts

  • A triple-door miter mullion antique bookcase by Arts and Crafts designer Gustav Stickley recently sold for $35,000 at a Craftsman auction
  • A George II mahogany desk and bookcase sold for $13,750 at a Sotheby’s New York auction in 2015
  • A George III mahogany breakfront bookcase sold for $16,250 at Sotheby’s in 2015

Recommended Items at Auction

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Antique Butlers Chest with Bookcase Top
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Antique Butlers Chest with Bookcase Top
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$505 Bids
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EARLY 19TH C. MAHOGANY ETAGERE
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
EARLY 19TH C. MAHOGANY ETAGERE
by Litchfield Auctions
Est: $600- $900
$3002 Bids
Pair of 19th Century Walnut Wall Carvings
Oct 21, 12:00 PM EDT
Pair of 19th Century Walnut Wall Carvings
by Willow Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1252 Bids
Antique S.S. Cox Mfg. Co. bakers rack\table, 36.5” x 25” x 54”
Oct 21, 9:00 AM EDT
Antique S.S. Cox Mfg. Co. bakers rack\table, 36.5” x 25” x 54”
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$1002 Bids
19TH C. GEORGIAN-STYLE MAHOGANY BOOKCASE CABINET
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
19TH C. GEORGIAN-STYLE MAHOGANY BOOKCASE CABINET
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $600- $800
$3001 Bid
STACKING MAHOGANY BOOKCASE CIRCA 1900
Oct 28, 11:00 AM EDT
STACKING MAHOGANY BOOKCASE CIRCA 1900
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
19TH C. HEPPLEWHITE STYLE MAHOGANY BUREAU BOOKCASE
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
19TH C. HEPPLEWHITE STYLE MAHOGANY BUREAU BOOKCASE
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
PAIR, DANISH MODERN TEAK FIVE-SHELF BOOKCASES
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
PAIR, DANISH MODERN TEAK FIVE-SHELF BOOKCASES
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid
PAIR, DANISH MODERN TEAK FIVE-SHELF BOOKCASES
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
PAIR, DANISH MODERN TEAK FIVE-SHELF BOOKCASES
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid
Antique two piece Library bookcase in oak, 123cm W, 50cm D, 230cm H
Oct 24, 7:00 PM AEDT
Antique two piece Library bookcase in oak, 123cm W, 50cm D, 230cm H
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
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19c Victorian Walnut Wall Shelf w Carved Apron
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
19c Victorian Walnut Wall Shelf w Carved Apron
by Neely Auction
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
COPPIA DI LIBRERIE - PAIR OF BOOKCASES
Oct 21, 10:00 AM CEST
COPPIA DI LIBRERIE - PAIR OF BOOKCASES
by Aste Bolaffi
Est: €0- €0
€2,4000 Bids
A Victorian walnut cabinet bookcase
Oct 27, 10:30 AM BST
A Victorian walnut cabinet bookcase
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £400- £600
£3500 Bids
RICHARD NORMAN SHAW (ATTRIBUTED DESIGNER) GOTHIC REVIVAL BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1875
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
RICHARD NORMAN SHAW (ATTRIBUTED DESIGNER) GOTHIC REVIVAL BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1875
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,0000 Bids
MANNER OF GEORGE WALTON ETAGERE, CIRCA 1910
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
MANNER OF GEORGE WALTON ETAGERE, CIRCA 1910
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £400- £600
£2000 Bids
ARTHUR ROMNEY GREEN (1872 - 1945) ARTS & CRAFTS BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1910
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
ARTHUR ROMNEY GREEN (1872 - 1945) ARTS & CRAFTS BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1910
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £1,500- £2,000
£7500 Bids
ANDREA BRANZI (ITALIAN 1938-) FOR CASSINA 'BERIONE' BOOKCASE, DESIGNED 1988
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
ANDREA BRANZI (ITALIAN 1938-) FOR CASSINA 'BERIONE' BOOKCASE, DESIGNED 1988
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,0000 Bids
EMILE-JACQUES RUHLMANN (1879-1933) BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1930
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
EMILE-JACQUES RUHLMANN (1879-1933) BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1930
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £3,000- £5,000
£1,5000 Bids
ENGLISH ART NOUVEAU BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1910
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
ENGLISH ART NOUVEAU BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1910
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £300- £500
£1500 Bids
LIBERTY & CO., LONDON ARTS & CRAFTS OPEN BOOKSHELVES, CIRCA 1900
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
LIBERTY & CO., LONDON ARTS & CRAFTS OPEN BOOKSHELVES, CIRCA 1900
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £400- £600
£2000 Bids
LIBERTY & CO., LONDON ARTS & CRAFTS BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1900
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
LIBERTY & CO., LONDON ARTS & CRAFTS BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1900
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £400- £600
£2000 Bids
19TH C. REGENCY MAHOGANY SECRETARY BOOKCASE
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
19TH C. REGENCY MAHOGANY SECRETARY BOOKCASE
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $700- $900
$3500 Bids
ENGLISH SHERATON STYLE BUREAU BOOKCASE, CA 1840
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
ENGLISH SHERATON STYLE BUREAU BOOKCASE, CA 1840
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Antique Shelves & Bookcases


Lyon & Turnbull

Lyon & Turnbull

Vickers & Hoad

Vickers & Hoad

Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.

Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.

New Orleans Auction Galleries

New Orleans Auction Galleries