Yves Saint Laurent co-founder, Pierre Bergé, is a lover of books, evidenced by his impressive private library collection of more than 1,600 rare tomes, manuscripts and musical scores, in his Paris apartment. A collection he is preparing to share with the world in a series of auctions. Sotheby’s New York will host the first auction which will see 60 of the 150 initial lots, up for sale. 

Bergé’s auction offering has been valued at approximately $700,000, and when asked why this keen collector, whose affections for such rare pieces is unmistakable, is willing to part with so many precious items he responded:

“Because I’ll be 85 before the end of the year and one has to be conscious of one’s age and think of the future,” 

His love for books began to flourish at the age of 17, when he took up his first job, at a book store, since then his relationship with the written world, rare first editions has grown and grown, and his first important purchase, at age 21, was Gallimard’s complete works of Marcel Proust. 

“I have no heirs, so I’ve willed this library to the foundation. It’s decided and organized, but I prefer to take care of it myself while I’m still alive,”

After the New York preview, Berge’s books will be on display at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong from October 2–7 and at Sotheby’s London from November 6–9.