Bloomsbury Auctions and Dreweatts have announced a far-reaching and strategic alliance.
Initially the two companies will offer each other's services to their growing client bases in the UK and internationally.
Bloomsbury will expand its popular monthly 'Bibliophile' sales which will now be held in Dreweatts' Godalming, UK salerooms.
Dreweatts on the other hand, have a number of collections in the pipeline, including wine, that will be offered for sale in Bloomsbury's London and Rome rooms.
The two auction houses expect to have sales approaching £40m in 2009; last year the two together offered 90,000 individual lots for sale, making them the second largest fine art auctioneers in Britain by number of lots sold.
Bloomsbury Auctions has grown rapidly in the past five years since moving its London premises to Mayfair's Maddox Street and opening salerooms in both New York and Rome.
Today Bloomsbury sells more books and works on paper (including manuscripts, prints, posters, watercolours and photographs) than any other auction house in the world; in 2008 it achieved a hammer turnover of £23m including buyers' premiums.
Bloomsbury holds the world record prices for items as diverse as Albert Einstein's letters and Modern First Editions by Ian Fleming and JR Rowling.
Dreweatts is the trading name of the Fine Art Auction Group, which has been actively acquiring and consolidating a number of UK regional multi-disciplinary auction businesses.
It trades from flagship 'country house' premises at Donnington Priory, Newbury and also Bristol, Godalming and Tunbridge Wells.
It has become Britain's leading regional art and antiques auctioneers, reporting a turnover in 2008 of £16m including buyers' premiums.
Particularly noteworthy amongst its considerable successes was the private treaty sale of a collection of 'First Fleet' watercolours to the National Library of Australia for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.
Also the auction of a pair of portraits by Jean-Baptiste Greuze belonging to David Cameron's family, which realised over £1m.
'Bloomsbury's business complements ours perfectly. Their world renowned expertise in books and manuscripts fits well with our wide range of disciplines in Britain. The London and international dimensions to this strategic alliance will greatly benefit our clients,' commented Stephan Ludwig Chairman of Dreweatts.
He added 'I cannot imagine a more fitting development to celebrate our firm's 250th anniversary this year.'
Rupert Powell, the Managing Director of Bloomsbury Auctions said:
'We have, for some time, been looking to diversify what we can offer in New York and London, as seen by our $1.4m inaugural sale of wine in New York earlier this year.
'Dreweatts' depth and breadth of knowledge across the mainstream antiques and decorative arts market, is of a quality that enhances our position as an increasingly significant London West End saleroom.'
The alliance will see Bloomsbury's Managing Director, Rupert Powell, join Dreweatts' board and Stephan Ludwig, Dreweatts' Chairman, will be appointed to the board of Bloomsbury's holding company.