Auction Results: Ansel Adams and the American West Photographs from the Center for Creative Photography (online), June 4, 2020 @Christie’s

Christie’s recent single artist sale of the work of Ansel Adams from the collection of the Center of Creative Photography performed admirably. While most of the prints on offer were made in the 1970s and featured lesser known and secondary images from Adams’ long career, the museum provenance certainly added a positive amplifier. 33 of the 34 lots available found buyers, but only 45% of those came in within or above the pre-sale estimate range, so there were some bargains to be had. While there was only one positive surprise, the combination of the top lot finding a buyer and the low overall Buy-In rate helped bring the Total Sale Proceeds in at roughly $325K, near the top of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 34
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $247000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $358000
Total Lots Sold 33
Total Lots Bought In 1
Buy In % 2.94%
Total Sale Proceeds $327625

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 22
Total Low Lots Sold 21
Total Low Lots Bought In 1
Low Buy In % 4.55%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $157000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $142500
Mid Total Lots 11
Total Mid Lots Sold 11
Total Mid Lots Bought In 0
Mid Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $141000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $91375
Total High Lots 1
Total High Lots Sold 1
Total High Lots Bought In 0
High Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $60000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $93750

The top lot by High estimate was lot 3, Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California, 1944/1962-1963, estimated at $40000-60000; it was also the top outcome of the sale at $93750 (image above via Christie’s).

Only 45.45% 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 Christie’s):

Lot 24, Ansel Adams, Pasture, Sonoma County, Northern California, 1951/1973-1977, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $17500

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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