Auction Preview: 100 Fine Photographs, February 19 @Swann

Swann Galleries begins its 2009 season with a February sale of photographs, offering its signature eclectic mix of daguerreotypes and 19th century images, vintage works, and later prints from a wide variety of artists and time periods. (Catalogue cover at right.)

Here are the statistics for the auction:

Total Lots: 117

Total Low Estimate: $556600 (plus one “refer to department”)
Total High Estimate: $816400 (plus one “refer to department”)

Total Low Lots (high estimate below $10000): 99

Total Low Estimate (sum of high estimates of Low lots): $543400Total Mid Lots (high estimate between $10000 and $50000): 17
Total Mid Estimate: $213000

Total High Lots (high estimate above $50000): 1 (plus one “refer to department”)
Total High Estimate: $60000 (plus one “refer to department”)

While there are several solid pictures in this sale (a nice vintage Minor White, a vintage Callahan weed, and an 1890s albumen panorama of Hong Kong among others), there aren’t many that would fit well with our particular collection. The best match would be Lot 36, Poughkeepsie Bridge, 1929, by Ralph Steiner, to go with some of our other bridge pictures. (Image at right.)

As the markets began to deflate last year, Swann held its own quite well, perhaps due to an increasingly good match between its typically lower end material and many collectors’ readjusted budgets. While the material here isn’t uniformly strong, it will still be intriguing to see how this sale performs, particularly with regard to realized prices versus estimates, as a proxy for the current mood of the market.

Swann Galleries

104 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010

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