a) Journal, 1939-50
This was used to record day-by-day transactions, prior to entering in the ledgers. (N.B. Double-entry book-keeping was not used: the entries are in simple chronological order.)
Foolscap, 602 numbered pages. Half-leather bound.
b) Ledger 'F', 1934-50 (i.e. the sixth since the founding of the business)
This is a general ledger containing the Trade Account, Auction Mart Account, personal accounts of regular customers, rent accounts, etc.
During the 1930s it was usual for an appreciable proportion of the goods in the fortnightly auction sales to belong to the firm. Most of these originated at the auction sales of Messrs. Tooth & Tooth, London, which were attended regularly by Mr. B.J.Millburn; purchases at these sales are entered in the Auction Mart pages as 'T & T', and the expenses of fetching them from London to Aylesbury are entered under the removers' names, e.g. 'Dayton' or 'Bezant'. From June 1934, following the death of John Millburn, Miss C.B.Millburn was employed as clerk; her wages (initially 7s. 6d. per week) are entered in the Trade Account under 'CBM'. No.6 Temple Street was occupied by Mr. Bandy, who was employed on a part-time basis by John Millburn as a gardener/handyman as well as in the saleroom. Entries for 'Labour' or 'Wages' in the Trade Account are for part-time employees, generally employed as porters on sale days only.
During the second world war the value of the turnover increased considerably, due partly to price increases in general and partly to increased volume of business (new goods being in short supply). Visits to Tooth & Tooth ceased towards the end of 1941, but this may have been due to that firm being bombed. From the middle of 1940, Mr. Millburn was able to put some of the profits into Savings Certificates and Defence Bonds; these were his personal investments, though the details are entered in the general ledger for convenience.
In 1942, membership of a professional organisation became obligatory. Mr. B.J.Millburn's subscriptions to the Incorporated Society of Auctioneers and Landed Property Agents are entered in the Trade Account in May 1942 and subsequently each January.
Nearly all the entries in this ledger are in Mr. B.J. Millburn's hand, up to March 1950; the few subsequent entries are in Miss C.B.Millburn's hand. The 'Wages' entries for sales nos. 1680-3 include a fee to Mr. L.H.Dix, who conducted these in Mr. Millburn's absence due to illness.
Foolscap, 162 numbered pages plus index. Half-leather bound.
c) Storage Ledger, 1917-50
About 1914, John Millburn purchased the Church Hall at Thame, Oxon, a building mainly of wood and asbestos with a corrugated iron roof, and had it moved to the garden of his private house,  Bierton Hill. This building was used for storage of furniture etc., and for repairs. This ledger records the income from storage charges, arranged under names of owners.
Foolscap, 167 numbered pages plus index. Half-leather bound.
Smaller Volumes and Bundles of Papers
D/139/) Auction Book No.1
This contains details of auction sales from the founding of the business in 1878 to September 1879; all the entries are in John Millburn's hand. The sales included those held at various inns, in the Corn Exchange, the Market Square, etc. as well as in the hired room in St. Mary's Square which was the firm's regular auction room at that time.
8vo, 327 pp., cloth bound. Partly damaged by water.
D/139/2 Trading Summaries, 1931-4
These few pages, removed from a book subsequently used for private household accounts, summarize the trading income and expenditure for the last three financial years before John Millburn died in 1934. They indicate that during this period, John Millburn drew £3 per week, and Bowness John Millburn £5 per week; any surplus at the end of the year was divided equally. (Though the younger partner, B.J.M. was doing most of the work during this period, when his father was over 80.)
16 pages 8vo, disbound.
D/139/3 Valuation Books, 1922-50 (2)
These contain details of valuations of house contents, jewellery, etc., and of a few houses, mostly undertaken for administration or probate. Some of the entries are in code, the ten-letter word used for this purpose being 'patterdale', viz:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
p a t T e r d A l E
The use of both 'e' and 'l' in handwriting could lead to confusion, but in practice this was not significant as the figure '9' seldom occurred in valuations except in totals.
Pages 104-111 of the 1923-37 book contain the valuation for division of John Millburn's effects following his death in 1934.
Two books, 8" x 5", bound at short edge, openings numbered 1-129. Leather, with clasp.
D/139/4 Unpaid Book, 1936-50
This contains the names of buyers and sellers whose accounts were not settled before the next sale, including 'bad debts'.
9½" x 6½", openings 1-95 numbered in MS. Half-leather bound.
D/139/5 Rough Draft Annual Accounts, 1941...1950
Following John Millburn's death in June 1934, the firm's accounting year ended on 15 June. These sheets are the rough draft copies of the annual accounts submitted to the Income Tax office. They indicate that the firm's taxable profit during these years was as follows:-
Year ended Income 'Expenditure' (includes annual value of premises) Gross Profit before tax
15. 6. 1942 £1,234 £354 £880
15. 6. 1943 missing, see Ledger 'F'
15. 6. 1944 missing, see Ledger 'F'
15. 6. 1945 £1,741 £333 £1,408
15. 6. 1946 £2,029 £378 £1,651
15. 6. 1947 £1,763 £491 £1,272
15. 6. 1948 £1,714 £485 £1,229
15. 6. 1949 £1,353 £511 £841
15. 6. 1950 £1,340 £493 £847
Seven double-foolscap sheets, some with Income Tax acknowledgement letter attached.
D/139/6 Board of Trade Notices etc., 1942-48
These, together with item (7), detail the restrictions placed on auction. sales during and just after the Second World War.
A bundle, v. sizes.
D/139/7 Statutory Rules and Orders, 1942-48
These official notices determined what goods could be sold by auction, and how maximum prices of certain goods were to be calculated.
A bundle, 8vo.
D/139/8 Incorporated Society of Auctioneers & Landed Property Agents Publications
List of Members, Regulations, circulars, etc.
A bundle, v. sizes.
D/139/9 Correspondence, Bills, Receipts etc. 1945-50
This is a general file containing correspondence etc. relating to both the sale of goods and the running of the business, including Income Tax matters, from 1945 to the closure of the business in 1950.
A bundle of approx 400 items, v. sizes.
D/139/10 Removal Contractors' Accounts, 1945-50
A bundle, v. sizes.
D/139/11 Bank Statements, 1946-50
These statements are for Mr. B.J.Millburn's only account, combining his business and private interests.
D/139/12 Auction Books, 1949-50 (3)
These books contain details of the lots, owners, buyers, and prices realized for sales held during 1949 and the first half of 1950; they are the last three in the series which commenced in 1878 with Auction Book No.1 (item 1).
The method of use was as follows. During the lotting process, Mr. Millburn would call out the description of each lot as he stuck a number on it, and this would be written by the clerk (Miss C.B.Millburn) against the lot number on the left-hand page. Printed catalogues were not issued during the period to which these books refer, but a typed catalogue was pinned to a board in the Auction Room for customers' reference. The owners' names were entered in the first column on the right-hand page. Pre-sale commissions, and reserves, were entered on the left-hand page as a reminder to the auctioneer. At the sale, the price realized was entered on the right-hand page by the auctioneer, together with the name of the buyer. After the sale, the prices were totalled for each owner on each page, and transferred to the 'Summary' entries following the sale pages, where the commission and any other deductions were also entered. Details of buyers were entered in separate books, one for each sale (see item 13).
The commission charged during this period was basically 10% of the hammer price, plus a lotting charge of 6d per lot, rounded off to the nearest 6d. These charges were borne by the vendors - the "buyers' premium" had not been invented then.
The entries for lot descriptions and summaries are in Miss C.B.Millburn's hand, while those for buyers' names and prices are in Mr. B.J.Millburn's hand except for the last four sales (1680-3). The auctioneer for these was Mr. L.H.Dix, of Messrs. W.Brown & Co., who was engaged to conduct these sales during Mr. Millburn's illness.
3 books, 8" x 5", approx. 140 openings each. Limp cloth.
D/139/13 Buyers' Books, 1949-50 (34)
In these books the buyers' names are entered alphabetically (by first letter only), with lot numbers and prices. A separate book was used for each sale.
Most of the entries in these books were made by the sale clerk (Miss C.B.Millburn) during the sale, so that immediately after its conclusion buyers could pay for their purchases and take them away.
34 books, 6¼" x 4", 72 pp. each, stapled in paper covers.
D/139/14 Documents relating to former employees
These two bundles contain documents relating to the administration of the estates of S.H.Green and J.Edwards, former employees of J.Millburn & Son, for which Mr. B.J.Millburn was the executor.
Two bundles, v. sizes, including probate copies of wills.
15) Documents relating to No.11 Abbotts Road, Aylesbury
Sometime in the 1930s Mr. B.J. Millburn's sister, Mrs. E.C. Alderson, purchased No.11 Abbotts Road as an investment. The house passed to her son, the Rev. C.W. Alderson, on her death in 1936. It was requisitioned during the Second World War for the use of the Fire Service. These documents relate to the sale of the house to the County Council in 1949. Details of rent paid, and outgoings, are in Ledger 'F'.
A bundle of letters etc., v. sizes.
Examples of printed stationery used by the firm.
D/139/17 Documents relating to the sale of the firm's premises, 1950
Due to progressively worsening health, the business was run down by Mr. B.J. Millburn during the first half of 1950, and closed in June. These documents relate to the sale of the warehouse in Silver Lane, and the premises in Cambridge Street. Some press cuttings are included.
A bundle of letters etc., v. sizes; press cuttings; sale catalogue of W. Brown & Co. including the office furniture.
D/139/18 Miscellaneous documents and photographs
This file contains various items which do not fit into any of the above categories, viz.-
Notes re licences to deal in gold & silver plate.
Tenancy agreement with V.H. Jarvis, part of first floor, 1907.
Tenancy agreement with David Jones, 1949.
Endorsement to insurance policy for 5 Cambridge Street, 1907.
Plate Glass insurance policy, 1908.
Furniture Depository insurance policy, 1914.
Plan of auction room, 5 Cambridge Street.
Photocopy of a letter from J.M. to his son's C.O., 1917.
Inventory of contents of 143 Wendover Road, Aylesbury, 1939.
Small notebook with details of 48-66 Albert Street, Aylesbury, 1921.
Compiled by John R. Millburn, March 1982.