Auction Results: Masters of Photography: From Edward S. Curtis to Berenice Abbott, February 8, 2023 @Bonhams (online)

The selection of small gelatin silver prints by Edward Curtis that led off the recent online sale of photographs at Bonhams failed to generate much interest, dampening the overall results of the sale. A few of Curtis’s large scale photogravures on offer fared much better, and the top lot Weegee portfolio found a buyer within its estimate range, but with an overall Buy-In rate near 50%, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $160K) fell well 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 105
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $249500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $388800
Total Lots Sold 53
Total Lots Bought In 52
Buy In % 49.52%
Total Sale Proceeds $163016

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 103
Total Low Lots Sold 51
Total Low Lots Bought In 52
Low Buy In % 50.49%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $355800
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $135603
Mid Total Lots 2
Total Mid Lots Sold 2
Total Mid Lots Bought In 0
Mid Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $33000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $27413
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 82, Weegee, New York Portfolio (49 prints), 1981, estimated at $12000-18000; it was also the top outcome of the sale at $17850 (image above, via Bonhams.)

77.63% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 7 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above, via Bonhams):

Lot 31, Edward Curtis, Story Telling – Apache, 1903/1907, estimated at $800-1000, sold at $2443

Lot 34, Edward Curtis, Mohave Water Carrier, 1903/1908, estimated at $800-1000, sold at $4080

Lot 35, Edward Curtis, Two Leggings – Apsaroke, 1908/1909, estimated at $800-1000, sold at $3188

Lot 36, Edward Curtis, Arikara Chief, 1908/1909, estimated at $800-1000, sold at $6120

Lot 37, Edward Curtis, New Chest – Piegan, 1910/1911, estimated at $800-1000, sold at $6120

Lot 48, Edward Curtis, As It Was in the Old Days, 1927/1930, estimated at $800-1000, sold at $6120

Lot 96, György Kepes, Kepes 122, 1938, estimated at $1500-2500, sold at $7013

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Edward Curtis, György Kepes, Weegee (Arthur Felig), Bonhams

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