The book and antiques business founded by Moritz Stern (1846–1913) in 1874 was located from 1892 at Mariahilfer Straße 1 in Vienna's 6th district and existed until 1938 under the name Central-Antiquariat und Buchhandlung. Stern also had a branch at Wollzeile 28 in the 1st district, which moved in 1928 to Karl Lueger-Platz 3, also in the 1st district. After his death, the two bookshops were continued by his wife Charlotte, born in Vienna in 1855. In 1924 her daughter Gisela Stern became co-proprietor of the Central-Antiquariat at Mariahilfer Straße 1 and in 1937 took over her mother's share. Charlotte Stern transferred the bookshop at Karl Lueger-Platz 3 to her second daughter Marianne Stern in 1924.
The Sterns, who were of Jewish origin, were persecuted by the Nazis. After the annexation in March 1938, the long-standing employee Johann Kasalicky purchased the company at Mariahilferstraße 1 without the permission of the Vermögensverkehrsstelle (VVSt) (Property Transaction Office) and transformed it into a Kommanditgesellschaft (limited partnership). After the business was closed by the Gestapo, it was Aryanized on 14 December 1938 by Karl Günther with the authorization of the VVSt. Charlotte Stern died on 11 April 1939 in Vienna and Gisela Stern committed suicide on 12 September 1939, also in Vienna. Marianne Stern's bookshop at Karl Lueger-Platz 3 was Aryanized in January 1939 by the long-standing employee Karl Stark with the authorization of the VVSt, paying just 11,500 Reichsmarks for the stocks instead of the agreed 25,000 Reichsmarks. After Marianne Stern fled to the USA in February 1940 and assigned her outstanding claims to her lawyer, her remaining assets were expropriated by the Gestapo in July 1941 in favour of the German Reich.
In November 1946 Stark reported the antiques shop at Karl Lueger-Platz 3 as expropriated assets pursuant to the Vermögensentziehungs-Anmeldungsverordnung (Asset Expropriation Registration Regulation), but there were no restitution proceedings. After Stark's death, his wife Ida Stark took over the bookshop and ran it until 1956. Karl Günther was acquitted of illegal enrichment under § 6 des Kriegsverbrechergesetzes (KVG) (War Criminals Act) but sentenced to three and a half years' imprisonment and forfeiture of his assets in favour of the Republic of Austria under § 11 (10 – qualified illegality) of the Verbotsgesetz (Prohibition Act) und § 7 (denunciation) of the KVG. In August 1947 Municipal Department (MA) 69 of the city of Vienna appointed Wilhelm Herzog as public administrator of the branch of Stern's business at Mariahilfer Straße 1 Aryanized by Günther. In 1950 and 1953, Herzog purchased the business and inventory and continued to run it under the name Bücher-Herzog. After Günther's claim for restitution in 1958 had been rejected, a settlement was reached between him and the Republic of Austria before the Landesgericht für Zivilrechtssachen (provincial court for civil law matters) in 1961 requiring him to make a payment to the state, but he was able to continue running the business until the 1980s.