Auction Results: Fine Photographs, February 23, 2023 @Swann (online)

The online Fine Photographs sale at Swann last week generally performed to expectations. A respectable overall Buy-In rate of less than 20% was the positive headline, countered by the less encouraging data point that more than 45% of the lots that did sell did so at prices below their estimate ranges. When all the timers and extensions had expired, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $780K) came in just above 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 266
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $759150
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1135650
Total Lots Sold 213
Total Lots Bought In 53
Buy In % 19.92%
Total Sale Proceeds $781750

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 254
Total Low Lots Sold 204
Total Low Lots Bought In 50
Low Buy In % 19.69%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $903650
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $649250
Mid Total Lots 12
Total Mid Lots Sold 9
Total Mid Lots Bought In 3
Mid Buy In % 25.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $232000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $132500
Total High Lots 0
Total High Lots Sold NA
Total High Lots Bought In NA
High Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $0
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top lot by High estimate was lot 111, Irving Penn, Blast1980/1981, estimated at $30000-45000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 223, Richard Avedon, George Harrison, 1967, estimated at $15000-20000, sold at $38000 (image above, via Swann).

54.46% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 12 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate). 5 of these lots were vernacular imagery (lot 9 Cased Images, lot 13 African Americana, lot 67 Cars & Racing, lot 96 Billboards – Pacific Outdoor Advertising, lot 210 Albert Einstein). The 7 positive surprises in fine photographs were as follows (images above via Swann):

Lot 38, Alice Austen, Portfolio entitled Street Types of New York, 1896, estimated at $3000-4500, sold at $12000

Lot 51, Lena Scott Harris, Group of approximately 65 hand-colored botanical studies, all apparently California native plants, c1930s, estimated at $1500-2500, sold at $30000

Lot 117, André Kertész, Distortion No. 114, Paris, 1933/1970s, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $8000

Lot 140, Malick Sidibé, Two framed photographs, one of a mother with her children and the second with two girls, 1967, c1970, estimated at $1200-1800, sold at $3600

Lot 153, Irving Penn, Clown Playing Solitaire (Emmett Kelly), 1947, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $12000

Lot 190, (Napoleon Sarony), Portrait of Oscar Wilde, 1882/c1910, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $5200

Lot 200, H. Richardson Cremer, Portrait of Margaret Bourke-White with her camera, c1935, estimated at $800-1200, sold at $2800

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Alice Austen, André Kertész, H. Richardson Cremer, Irving Penn, Lena Scott Harris, Malick Sidibé, Napoleon Sarony, Richard Avedon, Swann Auction Galleries

One comment

  1. Pete /

    That particular Lena Scott Harris hand-coloured plant study is gorgeous, best from the series of those I’ve seen.

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