Auction Results: Photographs, April 4, 2016 @Phillips

Almost the inevitable downside of taking on more consignments (AKA the volume strategy) is that sell through suffers a bit – there just aren’t enough interested buyers for everything that is put on the podium. This was the case at Phillips’ recent Photographs sale. While there was plenty of value on offer, the overall Buy-In rate creeped up above 30%, even higher in the top price tier. With just a handful of positive surprises to backfill the fractionally increased number of passes, the Total Sale Proceeds were dampened a bit, just clipping the low end of the aggregate pre-sale range. But when compared with the other two main houses, Phillips came out on top in terms of total photo sales, so maybe the volume strategy isn’t so bad after all.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 264
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $4508000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $6470000
Total Lots Sold 179
Total Lots Bought In 85
Buy In % 32.20%
Total Sale Proceeds $4497375

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 99
Total Low Lots Sold 65
Total Low Lots Bought In 34
Low Buy In % 34.34%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $692000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $469500
Mid Total Lots 140
Total Mid Lots Sold 99
Total Mid Lots Bought In 41
Mid Buy In % 29.29%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $3113000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $2231875
Total High Lots 25
Total High Lots Sold 15
Total High Lots Bought In 10
High Buy In % 40.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $2665000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $1796000

The top lot by High estimate was lot 48, Andreas Gursky, Athens, 1995/later, estimated at $250000-350000; it was also the top outcome of the sale at $401000 (image in preview post).

96.09% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 6 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Phillips):

Lot 28, Thomas Struth, West Broadway, New York/Tribeca, 1978, estimated at $15000-20000, sold at $56250

Lot 57, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Church of Light, Tadao Ando, 1997, estimated at $12000-18000, sold at $60000

Lot 173, Ellen Auerbach, Portrait of Grete Stern, 1934, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $12500

Lot 203, Robert Mapplethorpe, Michael, 1987, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $27500

Lot 211, Seydou Keïta, Untitled, 1949-1951/1998, estimated at $7000-9000, sold at $22500

Lot 236, Lillian Bassman, Blowing Kiss, Barbara Mullen, New York, c1958/later, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $20000

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Ellen Auerbach, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Lillian Bassman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Seydou Keïta, Thomas Struth, Phillips

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