Auction Preview: Photographs, including Edward Weston/Cole Weston: The Master Set Property of the Cole Weston Trust, September 30, 2014 @Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s brings its various owner Photographs sale to market on September 30th, and buried down at lot 108 (but separated out into its own catalog) lies an exceptional collection of Edward Weston images printed by Cole Weston. Numbering 548 prints and sold as a single lot, it’s a one stop shop for a comprehensive collection of Weston images, from nudes and still lifes to portraits and landscapes, covering his entire career. Estimated at $2-3 million, it could be a target for a museum, a single bulk collector, or a dealer (or group of dealers) that might be interested in breaking it up. If it sells at the high estimate, that would place the per image price at just under $5500; this would represent a premium to the general market today for EW/CW posthumous prints (with the most iconic images going for higher than $5500 at retail at the moment, but lesser known images going for much lower). Given the variation in the desirability of the images, there’s a fascinating analysis to be done on the value of the lot today, and in various future scenarios decades down the line, when vintage Edward Weston prints are even more scarce and expensive than they are now and the meticulously executed Cole Weston prints have become the only viable option for interested collectors. Given Edward Weston’s stature, buying the lot and putting it in cold storage for a decade or two might be a pretty solid investment. Overall, there sale includes a total of 236 lots on offer, with a Total High Estimate of $8654000.

Here’s the statistical breakdown:

Preview Statistics
Total Low Lots (high estimate up to and including $10000) 103
Total Low Estimate (sum of high estimates of low lots) $833000
Total Mid Lots (high estimate between $10000 and $50000) 111
Total Mid Estimate $2501000
Total High Lots (high estimate above $50000) 22
Total High Estimate $5320000

The top lot by High estimate is lot 108, Edward Weston/Cole Weston, The Master Set (548 photographs), 1918-1949/1958-2003, estimated at $2000000-3000000.

Here’s the list of photographers with six or more lots in the sale, along with the number of lots on offer:

Multiple Lots For Sale
Ansel Adams 18
Robert Adams 12
Berencie Abbott 10
Peter Beard 10
Henri Cartier-Bresson 9
Edward Weston 9
Alfred Eisenstaedt 6
Francesca Woodman 6

Other lots of interest include lot 127, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Steps, 1929, estimated at $150000-250000 (image above, right, via Sotheby’s), lot 39, Imogen Cunningham, Amphitheatre (Mills College), 1928, estimated at $120000-180000 (image above, left via Sotheby’s), and lot 58, Lewis Hine, Mechanic at Steam Pump in Electric Power House, 1921, estimated at $70000-100000 (image above, middle, via Sotheby’s).

The complete lot by lot catalog can be found here (Photographs) and here (EW/CW).

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Read more about: Aleksandr Rodchenko, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Lewis Hine, Sotheby's

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