"However, Voldemort was no mere assistant. Polite and handsome and clever, he was soon given particular jobs of the type that only exist in a place like Borgin and Burkes, which specializes, as you know, Harry, in objects with unusual and powerful properties. Voldemort was sent to persuade people to part with their treasures for sale by the partners, and he was, by all accounts, unusually gifted at doing this."
-- Albus Dumbledore (HBP20)
Borgin and Burkes, the most notorious of the Knockturn Alley’s Dark Magic shops, lies some way down the Alley at number 13B (JKR). Borgin and Burkes specializes in the buying and selling of “objects with unusual and powerful properties” (HBP20), and particularly items that are both “unusual and ancient” (JKR). The shop is quite large, dusty, and dimly lit, with a large stone fireplace (CS4), and is known to be frequented by families like the Malfoys (CS4, HBP6). Its proprietors, Mr. Borgin and Caractacus Burke, are smooth talkers known to buy magical objects for much less than they’re worth, and sell them for far more (CS4, HBP13).
When Tom Riddle graduated Hogwarts, he surprised his teachers by taking a job at Borgin and Burkes, though they gladly hired him as he was an enchanting young man and able to “persuade” owners of valuable magical objects to sell them to the shop. What his professors didn’t know was that Riddle wanted access to these powerful objects, already thinking of his Horcruxes. When Riddle went on one such visit, to the home of Hepzibah Smith, she showed him two valuable objects that she possessed: the cup of Hufflepuff and Slytherin’s locket. Upon seeing these, Riddle murdered Hepzibah, framed her house-elf, stole the items, and vanished (HBP13).
Harry has visited the shop twice; first as a twelve-year-old, when he accidentally took the Floo Network to the wrong destination, and watched Lucius Malfoy come in with Draco and sell items to the shop (CS4); and second four years later, when he secretly followed Draco to the shop and overheard him purchasing the vanishing cabinet and threatening Mr. Borgin, though Harry did not figure out what Malfoy had been buying until many months later (HBP6).
From the Web
- The Foreshadowing of Borgin and Burkes by hpboy13
- Borgin, Burke, and the Half-Blood Prince by hpboy13
The-Leaky-Cauldron: The Importance of Borgin and Burkes by Zarathustra
Harry Potter Wiki: Borgin and Burkes
Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange: Why doesn't the Ministry get rid of Borgin & Burkes?
WizardingWorld (Pottermore) feature: Did you notice these easter eggs from Borgin and Burkes that became important later on?