Auction Results: A Grand Vision: The David H. Arrington Collection of Ansel Adams Photographs, February 17, 2022 @Sotheby’s

Rare prints by Ansel Adams continued their strong momentum at a single artist sale at Sotheby’s last week drawn from the collection of David H. Arrington. This sale was a follow up to similarly successful 2020 sale at Sotheby’s from the same collection (results here), and can also be compared with three Christie’s sales of Adams prints drawn from the collection of the CCP in 2019, 2020, and 2021 (2021 results here).

What all this decently fresh data tells us is that the demand for superlative Adams prints remains broad and robust. With the top lot Moonrise finding a buyer in its range, an overall Buy-In rate of just 2%, and 22 positive surprises sprinkled throughout the sale, when the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $3.8M) came in well above the top end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 100
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $2045000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $2997000
Total Lots Sold 98
Total Lots Bought In 2
Buy In % 2.00%
Total Sale Proceeds $3807846

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 32
Total Low Lots Sold 31
Total Low Lots Bought In 1
Low Buy In % 3.13%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $251000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $336042
Mid Total Lots 58
Total Mid Lots Sold 57
Total Mid Lots Bought In 1
Mid Buy In % 1.72%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $1126000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $1869084
Total High Lots 10
Total High Lots Sold 10
Total High Lots Bought In 0
High Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $1620000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $1602720

The top lot by High estimate was lot 26, Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941/c1943, estimated at $500000-700000; it was also the top outcome of the sale at $504000 (image above via Sotheby’s).

74.49% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 22 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 1, Ansel Adams, Yosemite Valley, Thunderstorm, Yosemite National Park, California, 1945/1973-1977, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $56700

Lot 4, Ansel Adams, Mt. Williamson, Sierra Nevada from Owens Valley, California, 1944/1978, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $56700

Lot 6, Ansel Adams, ‘Mount Moran’ (Autumn, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming), 1948/1973-1977, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $23940

Lot 7, Ansel Adams, Aspens, Dawn, Dolores River Canyon, Colorado, 1937/1981, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $56700

Lot 8, Ansel Adams, Redwoods, c1964, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $69300

Lot 9, Ansel Adams, Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Point, 1932/1962-1963, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $37800

Lot 11, Ansel Adams, Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, c1937/1970s, estimated at $30000-50000, sold at $226800

Lot 22, Ansel Adams, Antelope House Ruin, Canyon De Chelly National Monument, Arizona, 1942/1974, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $27720

Lot 29, Ansel Adams, Rail Fence, Tetons, 1965, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $75600

Lot 30, Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California, 1944/1973-1977, estimated at $25000-35000, sold at $176400

Lot 36, Ansel Adams, Ascent of the “Lost Arrow,” Yosemite Valley, 1947, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $27720

Lot 37, Ansel Adams, Ski Tracks, Yosemite, c1940, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $50400

Lot 38, Ansel Adams, ‘Winter, Yosemite Valley’ (Half Dome, Apple Orchard, Winter, Yosemite), c1935, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $32760

Lot 40, Ansel Adams, Deer, Yosemite Valley, Winter, c1939, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $25200

Lot 48, Ansel Adams, ‘The Teton Range & the Snake River’ (The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming), 1942/1963-1970, estimated at $50000-70000, sold at $201600

Lot 59, Ansel Adams, Early Morning, Merced River Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Ca., c1950/1973-1977, estimated at $7000-10000, sold at $23940

Lot 72, Ansel Adams, ‘Aspens, Northern New Mexico’ (Vertical), 1958/1973-1977, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $50400

Lot 73, Ansel Adams, Forest Floor, Yosemite Valley, California, c1950/1979, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $27720

Lot 77, Ansel Adams, River, Cliffs, Autumn, Yosemite Valley, California, 1939/1963-1973, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $56700

Lot 86, Ansel Adams, San Francisco from T. V. Hill (San Bruno Mountain), 1952/1962-1963, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $75600

Lot 87, Ansel Adams, Golden Gate Before the Bridge, San Francisco, c1932/1963-1970, estimated at $20000-30000, sold at $60480

Lot 95, Ansel Adams, Paul Masson Vineyards, Saratoga, 1959/later, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $16380

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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