The firm J.A. Stargardt was founded as book and music shop by Johann Carl Klage (1785-1850) in Berlin in the year of 1830. In 1841, Ernst Krigar took charge of the firm, which he sold to Reuter & Stargardt in 1847. As early as 1849, Paul Julius Reuter (1816-1899) left the firm again and founded later the famous ‘Reuter’s Telegraph Office’ in London.
Under the direction of Joseph A. Stargardt (1822-1885) the music and retail book trade lost its importance while the antiquarian book trade was more and more extended. Stargardt began to establish the trade in autographs as a special branch of the antiquarian book trade. After 30 years of business, a significant stock of antiquarian books had developed and about 150 stock and auction catalogues had been published.
In 1885, Eugen Mecklenburg the Younger (1859-1925) bought the firm from Stargardt’s widow. Mecklenburg’s father, Eugen Mecklenburg the Elder (1819-1873), had also traded in books and autographs in Berlin.
As from 1925, Günther Mecklenburg (1898-1984) ran the firm. He had joined his father’s firm in 1919 and continued the autograph trade, which had also become part of the firm’s name. However, he gave more priority to the organization of auctions. In 1944, the business premises were totally destroyed by bombs and large parts of the firm’s evacuated stocks were lost in East Prussia in 1945.
After the end of the war, Günther Mecklenburg began to newly establish the firm at Eutin in Holstein. As from 1946, stock catalogues have been published and as from 1950, auctions of autographs have taken place again. In 1952, the firm’s seat was moved to Marburg, which was geographically more central and had the advantage of two big libraries being located there. In the same year, Klaus Mecklenburg (born in 1930) entered the firm followed by his son Wolfgang Mecklenburg (born in 1964) in 1988.
After the German reunification, J.A. Stargardt went back to its place of foundation; since 1991 the auctions of autographs have taken place in Berlin again. In the past decades, we have auctioned a whole range of internationally significant collections of autographs, among others the collections Albrecht (in co-operation with the Erasmushaus, Basle), Ammann, Geigy and Meyer-Cohn. Today, we offer about 1200 items in each of our auctions from all classic fields of collection.
For a more detailed history of our firm, please see our stock catalogue 682, published on occasion of our 175th company anniversary.