Auction Results: The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the W.M. Hunt Collection, October 14, 2020 @Christie’s (online)

The results from the recent online sale of photographs at Christie’s drawn from the collection of W.M. Hunt were quite uneven, but given the eclectic nature of the material, that might have been expected. All of the images on offer last week had the eyes of the sitter covered or obscured in one way or another, leading to a broadly thoughtful collection (and 2011 catalog) called The Unseen Eye (the sale represented just part of the collection). And while the Buy-In rate for the auction was solid (at roughly 16%), more than half the lots that sold did so beneath their estimate ranges, thereby tamping down the overall results. When the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds (of just over $550K) came in under 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 126
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $683700
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $1012600
Total Lots Sold 105
Total Lots Bought In 21
Buy In % 16.67%
Total Sale Proceeds $557750

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 103
Total Low Lots Sold 88
Total Low Lots Bought In 15
Low Buy In % 14.56%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $526600
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $312625
Mid Total Lots 21
Total Mid Lots Sold 15
Total Mid Lots Bought In 6
Mid Buy In % 28.57%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $366000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $172625
Total High Lots 2
Total High Lots Sold 2
Total High Lots Bought In 0
High Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $120000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $72500

The top lot by High estimate was tied between two lots, both estimated at $40000-60000: lot 4, Irving Penn, Two Guedras, Morocco, 1971/1976, and lot 97, William Eggleston, Greenwood, Mississippi, c1972/c1986. The Penn print was the top outcome of the sale at $40000 (image above via Christie’s), while the Eggleston print sold at $32500.

Only 43.81% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 7 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above, via Christie’s):

Lot 17, George Krause, Fountainhead, Philadelphia, 1970/1996, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $20000

Lot 32, Edward Curtis, Haschezhini, Navaho, 1904, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $3500

Lot 35, Murray Korman, Zorita (Half Man/Half Woman), c. 1940, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $3250

Lot 59, Diane Arbus, Untitled (4), 1970-71/later, estimated at $7000-9000, sold at $18750

Lot 87, Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden, Arab Boy, 1904, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $4000

Lot 101, Lucia Moholy, Bella, c. 1930, estimated at $3000-5000, sold at $10625

Lot 108, Aaron Siskind, Durango 8, 1961/1970s, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $13750

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Aaron Siskind, Diane Arbus, Edward Curtis, George Krause, Irving Penn, Lucia Moholy, Murray Korman, Wilhelm von Gloeden, Christie's

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