Auction Results: An American Century: The Collection of Dr. James & Debra Pearl & Fine Photographs, February 15, 2024 @Swann

It was a largely uneventful outing at the Fine Photographs (plus lots from a single owner/collector) sale at Swann last week. The top lot Richard Avedon print didn’t sell, but the overall Buy-In rate was a respectable 26% and a handful of positive surprises helped counteract the passed lots. When the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds (of just over $1.1M) came in a fraction 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 238
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1156900
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1732100
Total Lots Sold 176
Total Lots Bought In 62
Buy In % 26.05%
Total Sale Proceeds $1108387

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 201
Total Low Lots Sold 150
Total Low Lots Bought In 51
Low Buy In % 25.37%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $985100
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $677112
Mid Total Lots 37
Total Mid Lots Sold 26
Total Mid Lots Bought In 11
Mid Buy In % 29.73%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $747000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $431275
Total High Lots 0
Total High Lots Sold NA
Total High Lots Bought In NA
High Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $0
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top lot by High estimate was lot 16, Richard Avedon, Portrait of the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, 1958, estimated at $30000-50000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was tied between two lots, each selling at $35000: lot 1, Ansel Adams, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, 1927/1973-1977, estimated at $25000-35000, and lot 20, Irving Penn, Breton Onion Seller, London1950, estimated at $20000-30000 (images above, via Swann).

77.27% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 5 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate)(images above via Swann):

Lot 120, Wright Morris, Gano Grain Elevator, Wood River, Nebraska, 1940, estimated at $3000-4500, sold at $10000

Lot 136, George Platt Lynes, Francis Burton “Kiko” Harrison, 1942, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6500

Lot 139, Peter Hujar, Fruit, for Elizabeth, 1981, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $27500

Lot 146, Werner Bischof, Courtyard of the Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan, 1951, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $9375

Lot 238, Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled, from Not Manet’s Type, 1997/2001, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $7000

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Ansel Adams, Carrie Mae Weems, George Platt Lynes, Irving Penn, Peter Hujar, Werner Bischof, Wright Morris, Swann Auction Galleries

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