Auction Results: 50 Masterworks to Celebrate 50 Years of Sotheby’s Photographs (online, Part II), April 22, 2021 @Sotheby’s London

Softness in the top price tier meaningfully diminished the results of the London half of the recent 50 Masterworks to Celebrate 50 Years of Sotheby’s Photographs sale. With two thirds of the highest priced lots of offer failing to find buyers (including 7 out of the top 8 lots), there was no way the sale could recover. A Chris Levine portrait of Queen Elizabeth II bucked the tide to come in near £120K, but the Total Sale Proceeds (for the London portion) tallied up at just under £495K, well below the low end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

The summary statistics are below (all results include the buyer’s premium):

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 25
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate £777000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate £1154000
Total Lots Sold 14
Total Lots Bought In 11
Buy In % 44.00%
Total Sale Proceeds £493920

Here is the breakdown (using our typical Low, Mid, and High definitions):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 0
Total Low Lots Sold NA
Total Low Lots Bought In NA
Low Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots £0
Total Proceeds from Low Lots £0
Mid Total Lots 10
Total Mid Lots Sold 9
Total Mid Lots Bought In 1
Mid Buy In % 10.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots £188000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots £204120
Total High Lots 15
Total High Lots Sold 5
Total High Lots Bought In 10
High Buy In % 66.67%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots £966000
Total Proceeds from High Lots £289800

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 46, Nobuyoshi Araki, A/FILM #2, 2006, estimated at £100000-150000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 48, Chris Levine, Lightness of Being, 2008/2020, estimated at £30000-50000, sold at £119700 (image above, via Sotheby’s.)

100.00% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there was just 1 positive surprise in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (image above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 48, Chris Levine, Lightness of Being, 2008/2020, estimated at £30000-50000, sold at £119700

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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