Auction Results: Contemporary Discoveries (online), March 16, 2022 @Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s tested out a new cross-medium approach to lower end offerings with its Contemporary Discoveries and Modern Discoveries online sales last week. Photographs were mixed into both sales, with just enough value on offer in the Contemporary Discoveries sale to merit a statistical summary. Soft buyer interest dampened the results, with half the photo lots that did sell doing so below their estimate ranges. With no positive surprises to pick up the slack, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography (of roughly $260K) 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 24
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $341600
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $505800
Total Lots Sold 16
Total Lots Bought In 8
Buy In % 33.33%
Total Sale Proceeds $262206

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 14
Total Low Lots Sold 8
Total Low Lots Bought In 6
Low Buy In % 42.86%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $101800
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $32256
Mid Total Lots 6
Total Mid Lots Sold 5
Total Mid Lots Bought In 1
Mid Buy In % 16.67%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $154000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $88830
Total High Lots 4
Total High Lots Sold 3
Total High Lots Bought In 1
High Buy In % 25.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $250000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $141120

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 240, Vik Muniz, Jackie (from Pictures of Diamonds), 2005, estimated at $50000-70000; it was also the top photography outcome in the sale at $56700 (image above, via Sotheby’s.)

Only 50.00% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were no positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate.)

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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