Auction Results: Madonna x Meisel – The SEX Photographs, October 6, 2023 @Christie’s

A serious misjudgment of demand, or of pricing, seems to have occurred at the recent Madonna x Meisel – The SEX Photographs sale last week at Christie’s. More that 60% of the lots (all highly priced) failed to sell, and 75% of those that did sell found buyers below their estimate ranges; almost needless to say, there were no positive surprises. When the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds of roughly $1.3M came in at far less than even half of 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 42
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $4210000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $6370000
Total Lots Sold 16
Total Lots Bought In 26
Buy In % 61.90%
Total Sale Proceeds $1335600

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 0
Total Low Lots Sold NA
Total Low Lots Bought In NA
Low Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $0
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $0
Mid Total Lots 0
Total Mid Lots Sold NA
Total Mid Lots Bought In NA
Mid Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $0
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $0
Total High Lots 42
Total High Lots Sold 16
Total High Lots Bought In 26
High Buy In % 61.90%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $6370000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $1335600

The top lot by High estimate was tied between two lots, both estimated at $250000-350000: lot 8, Steven Meisel, Madonna, New York, 1992, and lot 42, Steven Meisel, Madonna, Miami, 1992; neither lot found a buyer. The top outcome of the sale was lot 4, Steven Meisel, Madonna, New York, 1992, estimated at $80000-120000, sold at $201600 (image above, via Christie’s.)

A paltry 25.00% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were no positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate).

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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