Auction Results: Fine Photographs, October 5, 2023 @Swann

Aside from weakness in the top price tier, where both lots failed to sell, the Fine Photographs sale at Swann last week generally performed to expectations. The overall Buy-In rate was a bit too high (topping 32%), but a number of positive surprises helped counteract the passed lots. In the end, the Total Sale Proceeds (of just over $1M) came in just 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 316
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1177600
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1739900
Total Lots Sold 212
Total Lots Bought In 104
Buy In % 32.91%
Total Sale Proceeds $1032524

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 289
Total Low Lots Sold 191
Total Low Lots Bought In 98
Low Buy In % 33.91%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $1101900
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $684899
Mid Total Lots 25
Total Mid Lots Sold 21
Total Mid Lots Bought In 4
Mid Buy In % 16.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $468000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $347625
Total High Lots 2
Total High Lots Sold 0
Total High Lots Bought In 2
High Buy In % 100.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $170000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top lot by High estimate was lot 69, Edward Weston, Shells, 1927/1940s, estimated at $70000-100000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was ltied between three lots, each selling at $32500: lot 1, Julia Margaret Cameron, Maria Spartali, 1868, estimated at $6000-9000, lot 76, Ansel Adams, Thunderstorm, Yosemite, California, 1945/1979, estimated at $20000-30000, and lot 123, Danny Lyon, Portfolio titled The Destruction of Lower Manhattan (77 prints), 1967/2005, estimated at $20000-30000 (images above, via Swann).

75.47% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 10 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate)(images above via Swann):

Lot 1, Julia Margaret Cameron, Maria Spartali, 1868, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $32500

Lot 10, William Henry Jackson,The North Dome, Royal Arches, and Washington Column / The South Dome Yosemite, c1889, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $18750

Lot 12, James J. Williams, An album with 24 photographs of Hawaii, including Princess Kaiulani, surfers, landscapes, cityscapes, agricultural scenes, and more, 1890s, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $7500

Lot 44, W. Eugene Smith, Baby boy on railroad track, 1954, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6000

Lot 152, Art Shay, Poole’s Healing Services, Chicago, 1962/late 1970s, estimated at $600-900, sold at $3500

Lot 164, Edward Weston, Dancer in front of a silver screen, Glendale Studio, c1921, estimated at $5000-7500, sold at $16250

Lot 186, Jim French, Kirk Egans (Crouched nude figure), 1987/c1992, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $3000

Lot 227, Edward Weston, Portrait of the artist Frank Geritz, 1922, estimated at $5000-7500, sold at $25000

Lot 267, (CHANTERELLE MENUS), A pair of benefit menus with photographs by Cindy Sherman and Lorna Simpson, 1989, 1990, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $5000

Lot 284, Arthur Tress, The Dream Collection portfolio (12 prints), 1968-1975, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $16250

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Ansel Adams, Art Shay, Arthur Tress, Danny Lyon, Edward Weston, Jim French, Julia Margaret Cameron, W. Eugene Smith, William Henry Jackson, Swann Auction Galleries

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