Auction Results: Fine Photographs, October 22, 2020 @Swann

It was a solid, if uneventful, outing at the Fine Photographs sale at Swann last week. The top lot Yousuf Karsh portfolio didn’t sell, and while there were a number of positive surprises, they could be found mostly in the lowest price tier. With an overall Buy-In rate of just under 24%, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $900K) came in 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 300
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1008900
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1504200
Total Lots Sold 229
Total Lots Bought In 71
Buy In % 23.67%
Total Sale Proceeds $915908

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 274
Total Low Lots Sold 214
Total Low Lots Bought In 60
Low Buy In % 21.90%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $952200
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $674658
Mid Total Lots 25
Total Mid Lots Sold 15
Total Mid Lots Bought In 10
Mid Buy In % 40.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $492000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $241250
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 $60000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top lot by High estimate was lot 119, Yousuf Karsh, Karsh – Fifteen Portraits, 1941-1970/1983, estimated at $40000-60000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 163, Robert Doisneau, A portfolio entitled Robert Doisneau, 1945-1972/1979, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $37500 (image above, via Swann).

72.49% 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). Two of these lots came in the vernacular imagery section (lot 229, Civil War, and lot 248 Train Travel – The Southwest). The 10 positive surprises in fine photographs/photobooks were as follows (images above via Swann):

Lot 52, Edmund Teske, Nude, Davenport, Iowa, 1952, estimated at $1400-1800, sold at $4420

Lot 74, Paul Taylor, Dorothea Lange in Texas, 1935/1980, estimated at $800-1200, sold at $12500

Lot 103, Helen Levitt, N.Y. (two girls on a truck), 1945/1970s, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6000

Lot 124, Harry Benson, The Beatles, Pillow Fight, Paris, 1964/2000, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $7250

Lot 134, Robert Frank, The Americans, 1986, estimated at $700-1000, sold at $2750

Lot 176, Minor White, Easter Sunday, 1963, estimated at $3000-4500, sold at $10000

Lot 221, Graciela Iturbide, Cholos, Harpys, East Los Angeles, 1990, estimated at $800-1200, sold at $5000

Lot 231, Adam Clark Vroman, The American Indian Souvenir Playing Cards, 1900, estimated at $700-1000, sold at $3000

Lot 242, Stanislaus Julian Walery, The fabulous Josephine Baker, Paris, c1928, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $3750

Lot 282, Bruce Bellas (Bruce of LA), A selection of 79 photographs, 1960s, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $5980

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Adam Clark Vroman, Bruce Bellas, Edmund Teske, Graciela Iturbide, Harry Benson, Helen Levitt, Minor White, Robert Doisneau, Robert Frank, Stanislaus Walery, Swann Auction Galleries

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