Auction Results: Space Exploration, July 20, 2021 @Sotheby’s (online)

The photographs included in Sotheby’s recent Space Exploration online sale generally performed to expectations. Two first spacewalk photographs signed by the astronauts were positive surprises, and with a low overall Buy-In rate for photography (under 10%), the Total Sale Proceeds for photography came in at roughly $130K, squarely in the middle of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 41
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $109000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $169000
Total Lots Sold 37
Total Lots Bought In 4
Buy In % 9.76%
Total Sale Proceeds $132678

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 41
Total Low Lots Sold 37
Total Low Lots Bought In 4
Low Buy In % 9.76%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $169000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $132678
Mid Total Lots 0
Total Mid Lots Sold NA
Total Mid Lots Bought In NA
Mid Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $0
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $0
Total High Lots 0
Total High Lots Sold NA
Total High Lots Bought In NA
High Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $0
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top photography lot by High estimate was tied between two lots, both estimated at $6000-9000: lot 8, Album of 39 vintage gelatin prints of Langley Research Center taken by Senior NASA Photographer Bill Taub, 1958-1959, and lot 48, [Apollo 11] – Crew Presentation Triptych. Color photos signed by the crew, framed w/ NASA and Apollo 11 emblems, n.d. The top photography outcome of the sale was tied between lot 48 and lot 40,
[Apollo 8] — Earthrise. Color photograph, signed and inscribed by Mission Commander Frank Borman, 1968, estimated at $3000-5000. Both sold at $8190. The Langley album sold at $6048. (images above, via Sotheby’s.)

78.38% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were two positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 6, [Voshkod-2] — The First Spacewalk. Color photograph, signed and inscribed by Alexei Leonov, n.d., estimated at $1500-2500, sold at $7560

Lot 15, [Gemini IV] — The First American Spacewalk. Color photograph signed and inscribed by Jim McDivitt, n.d., estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6048

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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