Venator & Hanstein



2015-06-26 10:30:35

Venator & Hanstein is an auction house specialising in book and graphic auctions. The company was founded 60 years ago.


Founding and history

According to its website, Venator & Hanstein’s origins go back to the 30's when the plans were made to revive the tradition of the Cologne book and graphic auctions in the major publishing companies in Cologne.

Areas of expertise

The following topics are among Venator & Hanstein’s dedicated areas:

  • Rare Books
  • Manuscripts & Autographs
  • Prints and drawings of old and modern masters
  • Decorative Prints
  • Cities and rural landscapes, maps
  • Modern and contemporary graphics


Books, manuscripts, autographs:

  • Karl-Heinz Knupfer
  • Joachim Haber
  • Jennifer Niemann

Prints, Drawings:

  • Franz-Josef Fasse
  • Wolf Nolting
  • Jennifer Schlecking

Notable auctions

"Library Arenfels Castle" (1951)

Among the firm’s most notable sales was its auctioning of the "Library Arenfels" in 1951. The large-scale sale of so-called “pulp fiction” brought about a change in the scientific evaluation of hitherto largely treated with disdain literary genre.

Library of the Prince of Starhemberg (1956)

This 1956 sale was a particular success with “extraordinary price increases” according to Venator & Hanstein’s website. Key lots included a number of “precious and excellently preserved bindings.”

Hermann Hesse-Bodmer Collection (1973)

Another major event was in 1973, the sale of the famous Hermann Hesse-Bodmer Collection, which did much to publicise the sale of manuscripts on the German auction markets.

Notable sale results

In March, 2008, Venator & Hanstein auctioned the press prints and illustrated books from the collection of the needle manufacturers FB Schmetz. The sale included rare bindings, among them a four-volume edition of Rilke's poems which sold for €38,000 above its €9,000 pre-sale estimate.

At the same sale, The Death of Empedocles by Friedrich Holderlin brought €28,000 over its €5,000 pre-sale estimate.

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