Auction Results: Photographs: The Evening Sale and Photographs, October 4 and 5, 2016 @Christie’s

As a practical matter, if the Buy-In rate for an auction is relatively high, and the number and value of the positive surprises isn’t enough to make up the difference, the overall outcome of the sale should likely be dampened. While the specifics of any one sale might tip the results one way or another, this postulate was given a measure of proof in the recent Photographs sales at Christie’s. With a hefty Buy-In rate of 40% and just 2 positive surprises, the Total Sale Proceeds missed the low end of pre-sale estimate range by a decent margin.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 185
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $4624000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $6874000
Total Lots Sold 111
Total Lots Bought In 74
Buy In % 40.00%
Total Sale Proceeds $3523563

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 46
Total Low Lots Sold 33
Total Low Lots Bought In 13
Low Buy In % 28.26%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $345000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $225563
Mid Total Lots 115
Total Mid Lots Sold 66
Total Mid Lots Bought In 49
Mid Buy In % 42.61%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $2909000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $1592500
Total High Lots 24
Total High Lots Sold 12
Total High Lots Bought In 12
High Buy In % 50.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $3620000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $1705500

The top lot by High estimate was tied between two lots: lot 15, Edward Weston, Shells 6S, 1927, and lot 106, Robert Mapplethorpe, Flag, 1987, both estimated at $400000-600000 (images in preview post). The Weston print did not sell, while the Mapplethorpe print was the top outcome of the sales at $487500.

90.99% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 2 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Christie’s):

Lot 117, Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait with Whip, 1978/1979, estimated at $30000-50000, sold at $106250

Lot 124, Diane Arbus, Two female impersonators, Apollo theater, N.Y.C., 1962/later, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $17500

The complete lot by lot results can be found here (Photographs: The Evening Sale) and here (Photographs).

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Read more about: Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Christie's

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