The South German town of Pforzheim—population: 125,000—is home to Kiefer Book and Art Auctions, an auction house that has grown into one of Europe’s most capable.
Peter Kiefer founded the company in 1979 and printed his first auction catalog in 1985. In the more than 35 years since, Kiefer Book and Art Auctions has developed into a company with 16 employees and nearly 20,000 square feet of storage.
That amount of storage owned by Kiefer Book and Art Auctions has made the auction house particularly ready-made for hosting large-scale events on behalf of its clients—the company once helped sell over 60,000 books on behalf of a Southern German prince. Another sale involved the liquidation of a monastery, wherein Kiefer took in the entire library in addition to furniture, carpeting, and housewares on behalf of the Bishop of Frieburg.
Fine books were Kiefer’s first love and it is where the auction house still excels. Popular categories of books include modern literature, illustrated books from the 20th century, children’s books, and autographed editions of select books. Because of its scale and know-how, the auction house’s sales always have something for everyone, Kiefer said.
“Because we have so much storage, we are able to handle whole collections and whole household libraries, where our competitors in dense cities, with limited storage, cannot,” Kiefer said. “Our auctions attract pretty much everyone, from private collectors, to institutions, to libraries.”