Auction Results: Photographs, October 7, 2015 @Sotheby’s

The bad mood market funk that descended on the photography sales at Christie’s earlier this week continued at Sotheby’s yesterday, albeit with a bit less spiteful vengeance. Once again, the top end lots performed poorly, and there were few positive surprises (and in a particularly unexpected occurrence, those three lots that did double their high estimates were all later prints). With softness at the top and an overall Buy-In rate over 40%, it’s pretty difficult to make the results numbers come out well, and so not surprisingly, the Total Sale Proceeds fell underneath the pre-sale estimate range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 223
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $3800500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $5722500
Total Lots Sold 133
Total Lots Bought In 90
Buy In % 40.36%
Total Sale Proceeds $3280375

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 94
Total Low Lots Sold 60
Total Low Lots Bought In 34
Low Buy In % 36.17%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $737500
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $454875
Mid Total Lots 112
Total Mid Lots Sold 64
Total Mid Lots Bought In 48
Mid Buy In % 42.86%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $2475000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $1435000
Total High Lots 17
Total High Lots Sold 9
Total High Lots Bought In 8
High Buy In % 47.06%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $2510000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $1390500

The top lot by High estimate was tied between two lots: lot 144, Robert Mapplethorpe, Man in Polyester Suit, 1980, and lot 165, Diane Arbus, National Junior Interstate Dance Champions of 1963, Yonkers, NY, 1963/1967, both estimated at $250000-350000; the Mapplethorpe was the top outcome of the sale at $478000, while the Arbus failed to sell.

87.88% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 3 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 96, Ruth Orkin, An American Girl in Florence, 1951/later, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $32500

Lot 98, Andreas Feininger, 42nd Street, as viewed from Weehawken, 1942/1993, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $27500

Lot 210, Neil Leifer, Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston, St. Dominick’s Arena, Lewiston, Maine, 1965/later, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $15000

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Andreas Feininger, Neil Leifer, Ruth Orkin, Sotheby's

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