Auction Results: Photographs, October 5, 2023 @Sotheby’s (online)

A top lot that didn’t sell, an overall Buy-In rate over 52%, and no positive surprises combined to torpedo the results from the recent Photographs sale at Sotheby’s. The softness was felt in all three price tiers, but particularly in the highest priced offerings. When the tally was complete, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $1.06M) 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 92
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1726000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $2606000
Total Lots Sold 44
Total Lots Bought In 48
Buy In % 52.17%
Total Sale Proceeds $1061720

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 30
Total Low Lots Sold 16
Total Low Lots Bought In 14
Low Buy In % 46.67%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $256000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $110490
Mid Total Lots 54
Total Mid Lots Sold 25
Total Mid Lots Bought In 29
Mid Buy In % 53.70%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $1320000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $570230
Total High Lots 8
Total High Lots Sold 3
Total High Lots Bought In 5
High Buy In % $62.50%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $1030000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $381000

The top lot by High estimate was lot 27, Ansel Adams, Half Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite Valley, 1938/1959-60, estimated at $250000-350000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 31, Ansel Adams, El Capitan, Winter, Yosemite Valley National Park, California, 1948/1959-60, estimated at $80000-120000, sold at $177800 (image above via Sotheby’s).

79.55% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range, but there were no positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate).

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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