Auction Results: The Collection of Sir Elton John: Opening Night and The Day Sale, February 21, 22, and 23, 2024 @Christie’s

The photography included in the headliner Evening and Day sales from the collection of Sir Elton John at Christie’s in New York last week certainly capitalized on the rock star’s widespread celebrity, as well as his well known love for photography. The top photo lots both sold, the overall Buy-In rate for photography was under 9%, and there were more than a dozen of positive surprises, some of them at decently high prices. When the music stopped, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography (of roughly $5.8M) came in above the midpoint of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 187
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $4282000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $6546500
Total Lots Sold 172
Total Lots Bought In 15
Buy In % 8.02%
Total Sale Proceeds $5820182

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 58
Total Low Lots Sold 56
Total Low Lots Bought In 2
Low Buy In % 3.45%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $354500
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $451952
Mid Total Lots 103
Total Mid Lots Sold 91
Total Mid Lots Bought In 12
Mid Buy In % 11.65%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $2402000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $2345490
Total High Lots 26
Total High Lots Sold 25
Total High Lots Bought In 1
High Buy In % 3.85%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $3790000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $3022740

The top photography lot by High estimate was tied between two lots, both estimated at $300000-500000: lot 16, Cindy Sherman, Untitled (Film Still #39), 1979, and lot 34, Andreas Gursky, Dior Homme, 2004; the Sherman print was the top photography outcome of the sales at $378000 (image above, via Christie’s), while the Gursky print found a buyer at $302400.

81.98% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 17 positive surprises in the sales (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above, via Christie’s):

Lot 39, Bruce Weber, Running at Point Conception, California, 1987, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $15120

Lot 48, Terry O’Neill, Elton John (Album Cover Variant), 1974/2014, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $20790

Lot 108, Imogen Cunningham, Amaryllis Bud, 1933/1940s, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $27720

Lot 123, Nickolas Muray, Frida Kahlo on Bench, 1939/later, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $27720

Lot 129, André Kertész, Chair and Horn, Paris, 1935, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $18900

Lot 136, Josef Sudek, Ladislav Sutnar China (tea cups), c. 1928, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $11340

Lot 148, Ansel Adams, Oak Tree, Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, 1948/1973-1977, estimated at $20000-30000, sold at $81900

Lot 151, Walker Evans, The Super Wrench and Open-Ended Crescent Wrench, (from Beauties of the Common Tool for Fortune), 1955, estimated at $5000-7000, sold at $15120

Lot 174, Herbert List, Young Men Under Reed Roof, Torremolinos, 1951/2011, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $17640

Lot 185, Yves Klein & Harry Shunk, Le Saut Dans le Vide, 1960, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $25200

Lot 191, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Polar Bear, 1976, estimated at $15000-20000, sold at $69300

Lot 209, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mum, 1989, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $44100

Lot 220, Duane Michals, From Out of The Cradle Endlessly Rocking (Sea-Drift), 1996, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $5040

Lot 248, Edward Burtynsky, Manufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, China, 2005, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $37800

Lot 252, Andrew Moore, Room 348, Hermitage, St. Petersburg, 2000/2007, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $42840

Lot 255, Erwin Olaf, Grief, Troy, 2007, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $16380

Lot 340, Todd Murphy, Welcome to the Beautiful South, 1994, estimated at $15000-20000, sold at $69300

The complete lot by lot results can be found here (Opening Night) and here (The Day Sale).

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Read more about: André Kertész, Andrew Moore, Ansel Adams, Bruce Weber, Cindy Sherman, Duane Michals, Edward Burtynsky, Erwin Olaf, Herbert List, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Imogen Cunningham, Josef Sudek, Nickolas Muray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Terry O'Neill, Todd Murphy, Walker Evans, Yves Klein, Christie's

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