Auction Results: Vente Succession François Lepage – Photographies du XIX et XX Siècle, November 10, 2022 @Millon

For collectors of 19th century photography, the recent sale of the collection of François Lepage at Millon in Paris must have felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. Starting back in the 1960s, Lepage was one a handful of dealers gathering up 19th century photographs from flea markets and auctions in Paris, and the selections that went on sale last week reached back to the very earliest period in the development of the medium. To say that these kinds of works don’t come on the market very often is perhaps a massive understatement; this was a sale filled with rarities.

It’s therefore a bit surprising that the estimates at the Millon sale were so conservative. When all the bidding was done, a total of 87 lots sold for twice their high estimate or more, with one lot coming in at a tidy 35X its high estimate (after the buyer’s premium was added). By another measure, more than 82% of the lots that did sell did so above their estimate ranges. So either Millon was being very careful and trying to encourage bidding, or there was some misinterpretation of the material going on, which seems unlikely.

The top lot honors went to a still life by Alphonse-Eugène Hubert (an inventor and collaborator of Daguerre), but works by Hippolyte Fizeau, Eugène Durieu, Louis-Auguste Bisson, André Giroux, and many others all performed well. The overall Buy-In rate for the sale was an admirable 16%, and with all the positive surprises, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly €2.38M) more than doubled the aggregate pre-sale high estimate for the sale.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 233
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate €913600
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate €1187800
Total Lots Sold 195
Total Lots Bought In 38
Buy In % 16.31%
Total Sale Proceeds €2376151

Here is the breakdown (using our typical Low, Mid, and High definitions). Given recent currency fluctuations, we have once again re-adapted our local currency thresholds to match roughly $10000 and $50000 break points between categories.

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 220
Total Low Lots Sold 184
Total Low Lots Bought In 36
Low Buy In % 16.36%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots €695800
Total Proceeds from Low Lots €1453651
Mid Total Lots 11
Total Mid Lots Sold 8
Total Mid Lots Bought In 3
Mid Buy In % 27.27%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots €262000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots €247500
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 €230000
Total Proceeds from High Lots €675000

The top lot by High estimate was lot 148, Félix Nadar and Adrien Tournachon, Pierrot à la corbeille de fruits, 1854-1855, estimated at €120000-150000; it sold at €150000. The top outcome of the sale was lot 42, Alphonse-Eugène Hubert, Nature morte, 1839-1840, estimated at €60000-80000, sold at €525000 (image above, via Millon).

A powerhouse 100.00% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range, with a massive 82.56% of those actually above the range. And astonishingly, there were a total of 87 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate); we have listed below the 14 of those surprises that found buyers at least 6X their high estimates (images above, via Millon):

Lot 16, Marie Chambefort, Stéphanie Poyet, âgée de 7 ans, c1850, estimated at €600-800, sold at €8125

Lot 26, Hippolyte Fizeau, Charrette de foin dans la cour d’une ferme, Suresnes, c1840, estimated at €3000-4000, sold at €25000

Lot 27, Hippolyte Fizeau, Cour de ferme, Suresnes, c1840, estimated at €3000-4000, sold at €25000

Lot 28, Hippolyte Fizeau, Le Mont Valérien vu depuis Suresnes, c1840, estimated at €3000-4000, sold at €35000

Lot 39, Hippolyte Fizeau, Portrait d’un homme, le bras accoudé à une balustrade, c1840, estimated at €1500-2000, sold at €15000

Lot 40, Hippolyte Fizeau, Boîte à rainures contenant 3 pleines plaques de daguerréotypes non montées avec le poinçon “Lerebours” sur le bord de la plaque (pour deux): Buste antique; La Dormition de la Vierge Marie; Église Notre-Dame, portail sud, 1842, estimated at €800-1000, sold at €35000

Lot 42, Alphonse-Eugène Hubert, Nature morte, 1839-1840, estimated at €60000-80000, sold at €525000

Lot 96, Olympe Aguado, Taureau et son vacher, c1855, estimated at €1000-1200, sold at €13750

Lot 97, W. H. Guebhard, Perspective, 1854, estimated at €1500-2000, sold at €12500

Lot 139, André Giroux, Chaumière aux oies, Boussardière (Allier), c1855, estimated at €2000-3000, sold at €21250

Lot 141, André Giroux, Le pont de Seychalles sur la Durolle, Thiers, Puy de Dôme, c1855, estimated at €2000-3000, sold at €22500

Lot 176, Album, Collection Disderi Marine France n°42, 1859-1869, estimated at €3000-4000, sold at €26250

Lot 188, Julien Vallou de Villeneuve, Nu à la cruche, c1852-1853, estimated at €800-1000, sold at €6250

Lot 187, Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron, Reproduction du portrait de Bernard Palissy, c1870-1875, estimated at €600-800, sold at €13750

Complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Alphonse-Eugène Hubert, André Giroux, Comte Olympe Aguado, Hippolyte Fizeau, Julien Vallou de Villeneuve, Marie Chambefort, Millon & Associés

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