Auction Results: Photographs (online), May 20, 2021 @Sotheby’s London

The recent online Photographs sale at Sotheby’s in London didn’t generate much heat. Led by a top lot Helmut Newton diptych which didn’t sell, the glamour heavy selection suffered from a too high Buy-In rate (near 39%), and too few positive surprises (3) to pick up the slack. In the end, the Total Sale Proceeds came in at roughly £620K, 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 93
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate £677200
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate £990000
Total Lots Sold 57
Total Lots Bought In 36
Buy In % 38.71%
Total Sale Proceeds £619164

Here is the breakdown (using our usual Low, Mid, and High price tier definitions):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 23
Total Low Lots Sold 15
Total Low Lots Bought In 8
Low Buy In % 34.78%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots £90000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots £61488
Mid Total Lots 65
Total Mid Lots Sold 41
Total Mid Lots Bought In 24
Mid Buy In % 36.92%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots £725000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots £500976
Total High Lots 5
Total High Lots Sold 1
Total High Lots Bought In 4
High Buy In % 80.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots £175000
Total Proceeds from High Lots £56700

The top lot by High estimate was lot 5, Helmut Newton, ‘Walking Women’, Dressed and Naked (diptych), French Vogue, Paris, 1981, 1981, estimated at £30000-50000; it did not sell. The top outcome of the sale was lot 25, Peter Beard, ‘Magritte Rammé and World Record Cow Elephant Tusk’, Montauk Point, 1976, 1976, estimated at £25000-35000, sold at £56700 (image above, via Sotheby’s).

94.74% 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 31, Nick Brandt, ‘Leopard in Crook of Tree’, Nakuru, 2007, estimated at £7000-10000, sold at £25200

Lot 38, Bert Stern, ‘Marilyn Monroe Orange Roses’, (From the Last Sitting For Vogue), 1962, 1962/2010, estimated at £3000-5000, sold at £12600

Lot 93, Russell James, ‘Kendall Running’, Santa Barbara Beach, 2018, estimated at £7000-10000, sold at £35280

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Bert Stern, Nick Brandt, Peter Beard, Russell James, Sotheby's

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