Auction Results: Fine Photographs, April 14, 2022 @Swann

Given Swann’s well-established position at the lower end of the photography auction market, the factors that tend to drive the relative success of any one sale tend to be the performance of the very highest priced lots, the overall sell through, and the % of lots that sell below their estimate ranges. When these factors point in the right direction, there has been solid bidding and sell through; when not, the story tends to be about softness of interest.

In the case of last week’s sale, all of these data points trended in the wrong direction – the top lot failed to sell, the overall Buy-In rate topped 34%, and more than 30% of the lots that did sell did so below their low estimates. So when the numbers were tallied up, it wasn’t much of a surprises that the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $750K) 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 293
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1015800
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1512950
Total Lots Sold 192
Total Lots Bought In 101
Buy In % 34.47%
Total Sale Proceeds $759859

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 276
Total Low Lots Sold 182
Total Low Lots Bought In 94
Low Buy In % 34.06%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $1135950
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $594859
Mid Total Lots 16
Total Mid Lots Sold 10
Total Mid Lots Bought In 6
Mid Buy In % 37.50%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $287000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $165000
Total High Lots 1
Total High Lots Sold 0
Total High Lots Bought In 1
High Buy In % 100.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $90000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top lot by High estimate was lot 12, Edward Curtis, The North American Indian. Portfolio I1907, estimated at $60000-90000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 37, Ansel Adams, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park1926/1973-1977, estimated at $20000-30000, sold at $37500 (image above, via Swann).

Only 68.75% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 7 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate). One of these lots was vernacular imagery (lot 256, China). The 6 positive surprises in fine photographs/photobooks were as follows (images above via Swann):

Lot 69, (Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec), Double portrait of the artist painting himself, 1880s/c1920, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $5750

Lot 142, Roy DeCarava, A group of 6 signed books, including The Sweet Flypaper of Life and later monographs, 1967-1996, estimated at $500-750, sold at $1500

Lot 159, Bruce Davidson, Child Running Through the Ruins, Sicily, 1961/1980, estimated at $1400-1800, sold at $4250

Lot 213, Paul Caponigro, Two Sunflowers, Winthrop, MA, 1965/1970s, estimated at $1500-2500, sold at $5250

Lot 216, George Tice, Shaker Interior, Sabbathday Lake, Maine, 1971, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $5250

Lot 234, Eliot Porter, Redbud, Red River Gorge, Kentucky, 1968, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $6250

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Ansel Adams, Bruce Davidson, Eliot Porter, George Tice, Paul Caponigro, Roy DeCarava, Swann Auction Galleries

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