Auction Results: Photographs, November 10, 2009 @Bloomsbury London

Bloomsbury’s various owner photographs sale in London continued the auction house’s struggles to find a successful formula. Total Sale Proceeds were meaningfully less than half the Total Low Estimate and the Buy-In Rate topped 65%. My guess is that these woes stem from a combination of the wrong material matched to the wrong client base; and of course, there are no easy answers or solutions to these problems. It seems that Swann is the only one to have figured out the trick to consistently surviving (and often thriving) on the lower half of this market.

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

Total Lots: 239
Pre Sale Low Total Estimate: £320600
Pre Sale High Total Estimate: £470500
Total Lots Sold: 82
Total Lots Bought In: 157
Buy In %: 65.69%
Total Sale Proceeds: £126124

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

Low Total Lots: 225
Low Sold: 80
Low Bought In: 145
Buy In %: 64.44%
Total Low Estimate: £324500
Total Low Sold: £105628

Mid Total Lots: 13
Mid Sold: 2
Mid Bought In: 11
Buy In %: 84.62%
Total Mid Estimate: £118000
Total Mid Sold: £20496

High Total Lots: 1
High Sold: 0
High Bought In: 1
Buy In %: 100.00%
Total High Estimate: £28000
Total High Sold: £0

Only 62.20% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above their estimate. There were six surprises in this sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate):

Lot 15 Kusakabe Kimbei, GR Lambert, World Album, 1860-1880, at £4392
Lot 40, Anonymous, Dundee, 1926, at £6344
Lot 42 Underwood & Underwood, Titanic – A group of 5 glass positive slides, 1911/1912, at £1830
Lot 58 Helmut Newton, Sumo, 1999, at £8540
Lot 65 Vladimir Fyman, Chrysanthemum, 1941, at £2074
Lot 126 Elliot Erwitt, New York City, Coney Island, 1974/Later, at £3660

The top lot by High estimate was lot 230, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Mediterranean Sea, Crete, 1990, at £22000-28000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 222, Irving Penn, Lily Melridge, 1971/2007, at £15860.

Complete lot by lot results can be found here.

Bloomsbury Auctions
24 Maddox Street
London WS1 1PP

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