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Bookends

Bookends, usually used in pairs, are supports placed at the end of a row of books to hold them upright. Utilitarian objects used in libraries and homes, bookends are also decorative pieces that add variety and personality to collectors’ bookshelves.

The history of bookends is directly tied to the history of widespread literacy and book collecting in the modern world. During the 17th century, people from varying socioeconomic backgrounds began reading more and purchasing books for private consumption. The surge in literacy was largely due to the invention of the printing press, which allowed books to be printed quickly and sold at affordable prices. As people began collecting books and stacking them vertically on bookshelves, the need arose to prevent them from falling over as books were removed for use. Bookends solved this problem. They also presented an opportunity to decorate avid readers’ collections of reading materials in creative and inventive ways.

Bookends can be made from almost any heavy stone or material, such as marble, bronze, or dense wood. They often illustrate miniature versions of famous works of art or stand on their own as priceless decorative objects.


Quick Facts

  • On November 6, 2013, Christie’s Amsterdam sold Juan Muñoz’s "Untitled (Bookends)" for $70,146
  • In 1877, William Stebbins Barnard patented the sheet metal bookend used to this day in libraries and large private collections around the world
  • The Gutenberg printing press was introduced around 1440, giving rise to widespread book collection and necessitating the use of bookends

Recommended Items at Auction

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Maurice Frecourt, a pair of Art Deco bro
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Vintage Brass Cactus Bookends
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Vintage Brass Cactus Bookends
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A Pair of Art Deco-Style Patinated Metal and Green Onyx Figural Bookends, early
Oct 13, 10:00 AM CDT
A Pair of Art Deco-Style Patinated Metal and Green Onyx Figural Bookends, early
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Pair Antiqued Metal Owl Bookends
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Pair Antiqued Metal Owl Bookends
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Est: $0- $0
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Pair ARMOR BRONZE "Invincible Armada 1588" Bookends 1925
Oct 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Pair ARMOR BRONZE "Invincible Armada 1588" Bookends 1925
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Est: $25- $50
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Yoshitomo Nara, Puppy bookend and Little Wanderer
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Yoshitomo Nara, Puppy bookend and Little Wanderer
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Bronze Art Deco Figural Doorstops Bookends Statues
Oct 26, 12:00 PM EDT
Bronze Art Deco Figural Doorstops Bookends Statues
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Est: $100- $1,000
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Vintage Figural Bronze Bookends
Nov 06, 10:00 AM EDT
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Est: $0- $0
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Bronze Doorstop Bookend Sculptures after P.J. Mene
Oct 26, 12:00 PM EDT
Bronze Doorstop Bookend Sculptures after P.J. Mene
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Frank Finney - Pair of Robin Bookends
Oct 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Frank Finney - Pair of Robin Bookends
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Est: $800- $1,500
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JAN BARBOGLIO: PAIR OF BRONZE BULL BOOKENDS
Oct 06, 9:00 AM PDT
JAN BARBOGLIO: PAIR OF BRONZE BULL BOOKENDS
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Est: $200- $300
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(2) DON GARRETT (B.1948) INDIAN BRONZE BOOKENDS
Oct 15, 10:00 AM CDT
(2) DON GARRETT (B.1948) INDIAN BRONZE BOOKENDS
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
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Marcel BOURAINE (1886-1935) Paire de serre-livres «Marabouts»
Oct 17, 10:30 AM CEST
Marcel BOURAINE (1886-1935) Paire de serre-livres «Marabouts»
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IIttala Style Alpha Green Art Glass Bookends PAIR
Oct 12, 12:00 PM EDT
IIttala Style Alpha Green Art Glass Bookends PAIR
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Est: $1- $1,000
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ART DECO "THE WELL OF WISDOM" BOOKENDS 1929
Oct 09, 2:00 PM PDT
ART DECO "THE WELL OF WISDOM" BOOKENDS 1929
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Est: $200- $300
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Pair Antiqued Brass Figural Bookends
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Pair Antiqued Brass Figural Bookends
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Est: $0- $0
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Pair of aluminum bookends with elephants in Deco style (h. cm 13) (defects)...
Oct 14, 10:00 AM CEST
Pair of aluminum bookends with elephants in Deco style (h. cm 13) (defects)...
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Est: €70- €80
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Mineral Rock Slab Bookends, Seashells
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Mineral Rock Slab Bookends, Seashells
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Est: $0- $0
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Original 1930's J.B. Hirsch Chinese Couple Bookends
Oct 08, 2:00 PM EDT
Original 1930's J.B. Hirsch Chinese Couple Bookends
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Playful Cats Bronze Bookeneds
Oct 08, 2:00 PM EDT
Playful Cats Bronze Bookeneds
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Little Fairy Bronze Bookend Sculpture
Oct 08, 2:00 PM EDT
Little Fairy Bronze Bookend Sculpture
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Est: $300- $600
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Sellers Who Sell Bookends


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Connoisseur Online

Connoisseur Online

Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC

Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC

Uniques & Antiques

Uniques & Antiques