Auction Results: The Collection of Sir Elton John: Elton’s Versace, Honky Château, Elton’s Superstars, Love, Lust, and Devotion, and Out of the Closet, February 27 and 28, 2024 @Christie’s (online)

The photography included in the six additional Elton John online sales last week (following the higher profile paired sales a few days earlier, here) undeniably benefitted from their celebrity provenance. Not only was there only one photo lot that failed to sell across all the sales, many low priced lots soared to 10X or more their high estimates, for later prints in large editions that could be found elsewhere relatively easily (which implied that there were lots of new buyers brought into the photography category by the singer’s fame). The top lot Shirin Neshat print actually sold below its estimate range, but glamour and fashion works by Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber did particularly well, as did much of the celebrity portraiture. More than 60% of the lots that sold did so above their estimate ranges, and with an impressive 51 positive surprises across the sales, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography came in above $1.78M, well above the high end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 177
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $884500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1323500
Total Lots Sold 176
Total Lots Bought In 1
Buy In % 0.56%
Total Sale Proceeds $1785420

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 135
Total Low Lots Sold 135
Total Low Lots Bought In 0
Low Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $629500
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $1065582
Mid Total Lots 42
Total Mid Lots Sold 41
Total Mid Lots Bought In 1
Mid Buy In % 2.38%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $694000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $719838
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 lot 1120, Shirin Neshat, Stripped, from Women of Allah, 1995, estimated at $30000-50000; it sold at $27720. The top photography outcome of the sales was lot 607, Radcliffe Bailey, Pinnin Leaves, 1999, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $94500 (image above, via Christie’s).

82.95% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 51 positive surprises in the sales (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate). Listed below are the 33 positive surprises with proceeds of $10000 or above (images above, via Christie’s):

Lot 607, Radcliffe Bailey, Pinnin Leaves, 1999, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $94500

Lot 639, Todd Murphy, Untitled (Microphone), 1993-1997, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $20160

Lot 660, André Kertész, Melancholic Tulip, 1939/later, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $20160

Lot 709, Harold Edgerton, Milk Drop Coronet, 1957/1984, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $10710

Lot 710, Helmut Newton, Sumo, 1999, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $10710

Lot 715, André Kertész, Satiric Dancer, Paris, 1926/later, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $17640

Lot 1005, Herb Ritts, Duo I, Mexico, 1990, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $20160

Lot 1009, Bruce Weber, Rick Arango, Point Conception, Santa Barbara, California, 1987, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $16380

Lot 1010, Herb Ritts, Antonio Rossi I, Miami, 1997, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $16380

Lot 1021, Herb Ritts, Male Nude with Bubble, Los Angeles, 1987, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $10710

Lot 1028, Imogen Cunningham, Triangles, 1928/later, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $10710

Lot 1053, David LaChapelle, Awakened Job, 2007, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $30240

Lot 1063, Josef Breitenbach, Stone Heads, Paris, 1937, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $11340

Lot 1099, Bruce Weber, Peter “Portrait of a Gentleman” NYC, 1997, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $12600

Lot 1101, Bruce Weber, Lee and Tony, Point Conception Beach, Santa Barbara, California, 1987, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $12600

Lot 1104, Bruce Weber, Justin Lazard, NYC, 1986, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $11970

Lot 1106, Bruce Weber, Tryouts for “Bruce of Los Angeles” Walker Ranch, Florida, 1998, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $12600

Lot 1107, Bruce Weber, Walker Ranch, Miami Florida, 1998, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $15120

Lot 1108, Bruce Weber, Peter at my loft, NYC, 1997, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $32760

Lot 1109, Bruce Weber, Peter at the Chop Suey Club Studio, New York City, 1999, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $11970

Lot 1202, Elliott Erwitt, Marilyn Monroe, New York City, 1956/later, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $10710

Lot 1206, Ulvis Alberts, Cher and Elton, Hollywood, 1975, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $10710

Lot 1209, Steve Schapiro, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) Shadowboxing at Home, Louisville, Kentucky, 1963/later, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $15120

Lot 1211, Terry O’Neill, Elton John Performing at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, 1975, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $16380

Lot 1217, Herb Ritts, Stephanie, Cindy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $30240

Lot 1223, David Bailey, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1965/1988, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $16380

Lot 1226, Lord Snowdon, Rudolf Nureyev, Royal Ballet, London, 1963/later, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $15120

Lot 1232, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Pensive Marilyn, 1953/later, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $16380

Lot 1234, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Marilyn Monroe, 1953, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $10080

Lot 1241, Herman Leonard, Dexter Gordon, Royal Roost, New York, 1948/1988, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $17640

Lot 1263, Philippe Halsman, Dalí Atomicus, 1948/later, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $13860

Lot 1264, Willy Rizzo, Salvador Dali, 1950/later, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $16380

Lot 1265, Robert Doisneau, Les Pains de Picasso, 1952/1980, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $25200

The complete lot by lot results can be found here (Elton’s Versace), here (Honky Château), here (Elton’s Superstars), here (Love, Lust and Devotion), and here (Out of the Closet).

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Read more about: Alfred Eisenstaedt, André Kertész, Bruce Weber, David Bailey, David LaChapelle, Elliott Erwitt, Harold Edgerton, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Herman Leonard, Imogen Cunningham, Josef Breitenbach, Lord Snowdon (Antony Armstrong-Jones), Philippe Halsman, Radcliffe Bailey, Robert Doisneau, Steve Schapiro, Terry O'Neill, Todd Murphy, Ulvis Alberts, Willy Rizzo, Christie's

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