Auction Results: Images & Objects: Photographs & Photobooks, April 20, 2017 @Swann

The softness in the mid and high priced lots at Swann Galleries’ recent photography and photobook sale led to results that underperformed expectations. With an overall Buy-In rate of nearly 29% and a decent number of positive surprises, we might have assumed the sale could deliver to its estimates. But when the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds fell meaningfully below the aggregate pre-sale range, the victim of just a few too many passes at the top. And once again, continuing a pattern repeatedly seen over the past few years, Peter Hujar’s work found plenty of interest.

The summary statistics are below (all results include the buyer’s premium):

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 347
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1508500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $2234150
Total Lots Sold 247
Total Lots Bought In 100
Buy In % 28.82%
Total Sale Proceeds $1223927

Here is the breakdown (using the Low, Mid, and High definitions from the preview post):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 310
Total Low Lots Sold 226
Total Low Lots Bought In 84
Low Buy In % 27.1%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $1166150
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $788477
Mid Total Lots 34
Total Mid Lots Sold 20
Total Mid Lots Bought In 14
Mid Buy In % 41.18%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $768000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $390450
Total High Lots 3
Total High Lots Sold 1
Total High Lots Bought In 2
High Buy In % 66.67%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $300000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $45000

The top lot by High estimate was lot 17, William Bradford, The Arctic Regions, Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland, 1873, estimated at $100000-150000 (image in preview post). It did not sell. The top outcome in the sale was lot 10, Eadweard Muybridge, A selection of 60 plates from Animal Locomotion, 1887, estimated at $40000-60000, sold at $45000.

77.33% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 14 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate). These can be divided into several groups including vernacular imagery (lot 299 John Trost, lot 306 Airships – U.S.S. Macon, lot 315 New York City, lot 325 Rodeo, lot 341 Female Wrestling) and 19th and early 20th century works by unknown makers (lot 5 Weapons). The positive surprises in fine photographs and photobooks were as follows (images above, via Swann):

Lot 29, Edward Curtis, The Scout, Apache, 1906, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $27500

Lot 34, Edward Curtis, Red Cloud, Oglala, 1905, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $32500

Lot 105, Gordon Parks, Muhammad Ali, 1966/1980s, estimated at $3000-4500, sold at $10625

Lot 115, Peter Hujar, Robert Wilson * Ann Wilson * Sheryl Sutton, 1975, estimated at $9000-12000, sold at $27500

Lot 160, Toni Frissell, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1957, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $12500

Lot 205, Duane Michals, Narcissus, 1985, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $26000

Lot 206, Peter Hujar, Shack, Queens, 1985, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $13750

Lot 267, Pierre Apraxine ed., Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company, 1985, estimated at $1400-1800, sold at $3900

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Duane Michals, Eadweard Muybridge, Edward Curtis, Gordon Parks, Peter Hujar, Toni Frissell, Swann Auction Galleries

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