Auction Results: Fine Photographs (online), June 11, 2020 @Swann

Swann stepped into the virus-driven online auction market with its Fine Photographs sale last week, and the results were generally muted. The top lot Robert Mapplethorpe print failed to sell, and there were just a handful of positive surprises across the diverse sale. With an overall Buy-In rate of roughly a third, the Total Sale Proceeds of roughly $850K 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 324
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1128500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1684100
Total Lots Sold 217
Total Lots Bought In 107
Buy In % 33.02%
Total Sale Proceeds $852715

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 298
Total Low Lots Sold 203
Total Low Lots Bought In 95
Low Buy In % 31.88%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $1167100
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $678715
Mid Total Lots 26
Total Mid Lots Sold 14
Total Mid Lots Bought In 12
Mid Buy In % 46.15%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $517000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $174000
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 34, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lisa Lyon, 1980, estimated at $30000-45000; it did not sell.  The top outcome of the sale was lot 33, Michael Halsband, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1985/1997, estimated at $20000-30000, sold at $27500 (image above, via Swann).

69.12% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 5 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate). One of these lots came in the vernacular imagery section (lot 305, Trains). The 4 positive surprises in fine photographs were as follows (images above via Swann):

Lot 46, Carleton Watkins/Isaiah Taber, The Three Brothers, 3,818 feet, reflected, Yosemite, California, 1865-1866/1880s, estimated at $700-1000, sold at $2210

Lot 72, Edward Curtis, Maid of Dreams, 1909, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $13750

Lot 262, Lucas Samaras, Photo Transformation, 11/8/73, 1973, estimated at $5000-7500, sold at $15000

Lot 320, (Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray), A double lenticular object featuring two Man Ray portraits of Duchamp, one as his alter-ego Rrose Sélavy, 1920 and 1924/1970s, estimated at $700-1000, sold at $5250

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Carleton Watkins, Edward Curtis, Lucas Samaras, Man Ray, Michael Halsband, Swann Auction Galleries

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