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

The results from Sotheby’s recent Photographs sale were generally soft. While the top lot Irving Penn print did sell, an overall Buy-In rate over 40% didn’t help matters, and with just a couple of positive surprises, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $1.025M) missed the bottom end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range by a decent margin.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 87
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1590000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $2471000
Total Lots Sold 49
Total Lots Bought In 38
Buy In % 43.68%
Total Sale Proceeds $1027811

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 38
Total Low Lots Sold 25
Total Low Lots Bought In 13
Low Buy In % 34.21%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $306000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $180086
Mid Total Lots 41
Total Mid Lots Sold 21
Total Mid Lots Bought In 20
Mid Buy In % 48.78%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $965000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $422275
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 $1200000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $425450

The top lot by High estimate was lot 34, Irving Penn, Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1950/1979, estimated at $200000-300000; it was also the top outcome of the sale at $254000 (image above via Sotheby’s).

81.63% 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 7, Ming Smith, Black Jewels of the U. S. A. I, Harlem, NY, c1991, estimated at $7000-10000, sold at $21590

Lot 24, Hiromu Kira, The Thinker, c1930, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $38100

Lot 29, Melvin Sokolsky, Sidekick, Paris, 1965/later, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $20320

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Hiromu Kira, Irving Penn, Melvin Sokolsky, Ming Smith, Sotheby's

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