Auction Results: Classic Photographs, October 5, 2021 @Sotheby’s

While the top lot Man Ray Calla Lilies did sell inside its estimate range, the broader results from the recent Classic Photographs sale at Sotheby’s were more uneven. Softness in the upper price ranges was a problem, as was an overall Buy-In rate just a bit too high (just under 35%). While more than a handful of positive surprises helped to buoy the numbers in the right direction, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $2.4M) fell meaningfully 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 151
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $2972000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $4532000
Total Lots Sold 99
Total Lots Bought In 52
Buy In % 34.44%
Total Sale Proceeds $2381778

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 53
Total Low Lots Sold 38
Total Low Lots Bought In 15
Low Buy In % 28.30%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $407000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $308448
Mid Total Lots 84
Total Mid Lots Sold 55
Total Mid Lots Bought In 29
Mid Buy In % 34.52%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $1925000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $1173690
Total High Lots 14
Total High Lots Sold 6
Total High Lots Bought In 8
High Buy In % 57.14%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $2200000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $899640

The top lot by High estimate was lot 16, Man Ray, Calla Lilies, 1931, estimated at $300000-500000; it was also the top outcome of the sale at $352800 (image above via Sotheby’s).

71.72% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 8 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 12, Irving Penn, Young Orangutan and Coconut (New York, Oct 12, 2004), 2004, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $52920

Lot 15, Man Ray, Wallis Simpson, 1935, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $37800

Lot 17, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Automobile Delage, Grand Prix de l’Automobile-Club de France, Le Tréport, 26 juin 1912, 1913/c1960, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $63000

Lot 52, Sebastião Salgado, ‘South Sandwich Islands’ (Chinstrap Penguins on an iceberg located between Zavodovski and Visokoi Islands), 2009/2019, estimated at $7000-10000, sold at $23940

Lot 100, Marion Post Wolcott, Vegetable pickers, migrants, waiting after work to be paid, near Homestead, Florida, Feb 1939, 1939, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $21420

Lot 101, Paul Strand, The Mexican Portfolio, 1932-33/1967, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6300

Lot 104, Ruth Orkin, The Card Players (6 prints), 1947/later, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $16380

Lot 125, W. Eugene Smith, Tomoko in her bath, Minamata, 1972, estimated at $7000-10000, sold at $52920

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Irving Penn, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Man Ray, Marion Post Wolcott, Paul Strand, Ruth Orkin, Sebastião Salgado, W. Eugene Smith, Sotheby's

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