Auction Results: Artists & Amateurs: Photographs & Photobooks, October 18, 2018 @Swann

Swann’s efforts to sell a complete set of Edward Curtis’ The North American Indian fell short last week, and with that much value missing from the tally, it was inevitable that the results would disappoint. The top outcome ended up being a dense studio view from Constantin Brancusi (sold at $125K), and while there were plenty of positive surprises in the vernacular photography section, with an overall Buy-In rate near 35%, the Total Sale Proceeds still fell 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 432
Pre Sale Low Total Estimate $2706900
Pre Sale High Total Estimate $4031700
Total Lots Sold 282
Total Lots Bought In 150
Buy In % 34.72%
Total Sale Proceeds $1630077

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 396
Low Sold 263
Low Bought In 133
Low Buy In % 33.59%
Total Low Estimate $1669700
Total Low Sold $1039677
Mid Total Lots 33
Mid Sold 18
Mid Bought In 15
Mid Buy In % 45.45%
Total Mid Estimate $727000
Total Mid Sold $490400
Total High Lots 3
High Sold 1
High Bought In 2
High Buy In % 66.67%
Total High Estimate $1635000
Total High Sold $100000

The top lot by High estimate was lot 57, Edward S. Curtis, The North American Indian, Volumes 1-20 and Folios 1-20, 1907-1930, estimated at $1000000-1500000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 71, Constantin Brancusi, Vu d’atelier, c1928, estimated at $30000-45000, sold at $125000 (image above, via Swann).

76.24% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 17 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate). Eleven of these lots came in the vernacular imagery section (lot 328 Bohemian Grove, California, lot 336 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire, lot 342 Emma Goldman, lot 351 Burley Tobacco – Lexington, KY, lot 360 Insurance Claim, lot 368 China – Cheong Chi Pio & His “Verdant Villa”, lot 375 Pin-Up Girls, lot 382 Pro Wrestling, lot 387 Solar Eclipse, lot 389 Atomic Bombs – Trinity Nuclear Test, and lot 394 NASA). The positive surprises in fine photographs and photobooks were as follows (images above via Swann):

Lot 61, Edward S. Curtis, Prayer to the Stars, 1904, estimated at $5000-7500, sold at $19500

Lot 71, Constantin Brancusi, Vu d’atelier, c1928, estimated at $30000-45000, sold at $125000

Lot 177, Roy DeCarava, Hallway, 1953/late 1960s-early 1970s, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $31250

Lot 214, Robert Silvers, Migrant Mother, 1999, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $14375

Lot 304, Wolfgang Tillmans, Philip, Close-up II, 1997, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6000

Lot 402, Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, 1890, estimated at $800-1200, sold at $2750

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

Constantin Brancusi, Edward Curtis, Jacob Riis, Robert Silvers, Roy DeCarava, Wolfgang Tillmans, Swann Auction Galleries

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