Auction Results: Photographs, October 4, 2023 @Christie’s (online)

Weakness in the top price tier flattened the results of the Photographs sale at Christie’s last week. The top lot Moholy-Nagy print failed to sell, as did high priced lots from Man Ray and Alfred Stieglitz. An overall Buy-In rate over 35% didn’t help the situation, nor did just two positive surprises. When the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $1.25M) came in 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 114
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $2291500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $3487500
Total Lots Sold 74
Total Lots Bought In 40
Buy In % 35.09%
Total Sale Proceeds $1252566

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 41
Total Low Lots Sold 30
Total Low Lots Bought In 11
Low Buy In % 26.83%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $272500
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $170856
Mid Total Lots 60
Total Mid Lots Sold 40
Total Mid Lots Bought In 20
Mid Buy In % 33.33%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $1435000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $820890
Total High Lots 13
Total High Lots Sold 4
Total High Lots Bought In 9
High Buy In % 69.23%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $1780000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $260820

The top lot by High estimate was lot 6, László Moholy-Nagy, Untitled, 1928-1929, estimated at $200000-300000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 3, Man Ray, Solarized Portrait of Mary Gill, 1931, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $138600 (image above, via Christie’s.)

72.97% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of just 2 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above, via Christie’s):

Lot 3, Man Ray, Solarized Portrait of Mary Gill, 1931, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $138600

Lot 113, Ren Hang, Untitled, 2014, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $15120

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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