Auction Results: Contemporary Photographs, September 27, 2019 @Sotheby’s

A nearly 40% Buy-In rate might normally have dampened the results of the Contemporary Photographs sale at Sotheby’s in New York last week, but a few solid sales in the top price tier and a handful of positive surprises helped bring the sale home. When the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds fell at the lower end of the aggregate pre-sale range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 91
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1723000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $2678000
Total Lots Sold 55
Total Lots Bought In 36
Buy In % 39.56%
Total Sale Proceeds $1885375

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 30
Total Low Lots Sold 15
Total Low Lots Bought In 15
Low Buy In % 50.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $221000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $90375
Mid Total Lots 52
Total Mid Lots Sold 33
Total Mid Lots Bought In 19
Mid Buy In % 36.54%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $1447000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $932500
Total High Lots 9
Total High Lots Sold 7
Total High Lots Bought In 2
High Buy In % 22.22%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $1010000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $862500

The top lot by High estimate was lot 89, Peter Beard, Giraffes in Mirage on the Taru Desert, Kenya, 1960/later, estimated at $100000-200000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 71, Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #10, 1978, estimated at $120000-180000, sold at $300000 (image above via Sotheby’s.)

83.64% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 4 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 35, Thomas Ruff, W.H.S. 10, 2001, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $56250

Lot 43, Catherine Opie, Selected images from Freeways, 1993, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $18750

Lot 51, Sean Scully, Towers, 2003, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $30000

Lot 82, Hendrik Kerstens, Bag, 2007, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $32500

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Catherine Opie, Cindy Sherman, Hendrik Kerstens, Sean Scully, Thomas Ruff, Sotheby's

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