Auction Results: Photographs from the Forbes Collection, September 29, 2014 @Christie’s

The Fall photography auction season in New York got started yesterday, with the single owner Robert L. Forbes collection sale at Christie’s. On the surface, the results might look adequate: Total Sale Proceeds falling within the pre sale range, a major positive surprise with a Lewis Carroll portrait, and the top five lots all finding buyers. But these positives mask some meaningful weakness in the sale: a Buy-In rate above 40%, no other positive surprises (beyond the Carroll), and particular softness in the mid range; the Callahan run of Eleanor later prints didn’t fare particularly well, nor did the lesser known Penn images from Cuzco. So in many ways, it was an uneven mixed bag, disguised by the vibrant jolt of the Carroll.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 62
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1074500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1637500
Total Lots Sold 37
Total Lots Bought In 25
Buy In % 40.32%
Total Sale Proceeds $1278125

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 18
Total Low Lots Sold 11
Total Low Lots Bought In 7
Low Buy In % 38.89%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $130500
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $67125
Mid Total Lots 39
Total Mid Lots Sold 21
Total Mid Lots Bought In 18
Mid Buy In % 46.15%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $897000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $517500
Total High Lots 5
Total High Lots Sold 5
Total High Lots Bought In 0
High Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $610000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $693500

The top lot by High estimate was lot 10, Irving Penn, Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1950/1979, estimated at $200000-300000; it was also the top outcome of the sale at $245000.

78.38% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range, and there was only 1 surprise in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate):

Lot 16, Lewis Carroll, Lorina and Alice Liddell in Chinese Costume, c1860, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $106250 (image above, left, via Christie’s).

Complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), Christie's

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