Auction Update Review
Seven auctions, achieving $8.0 million in sales, were archived this past week. Three sales were denominated in Pounds, three in Euros, one in dollars. Together these auctions achieved 87.50% of their aggregate high estimate, a very good performance. Alde, offering the Library of Vincent Labouret, sold 91 of 94 lots for almost twice [188%] the high estimate. New England [Book] Auctions, on a smaller scale, also did well. Per usual they sold virtually all lots, 229 of 234, and sold them well above the high estimate [124%]. Artcurial Briest-Le Fur-Poulain-F. Tajan, selling "Printed and Illustrated Books" also achieved 100% of their total estimate.
Where the market was weaker it was generally still very good. Christie's" Valuable Books and Manuscripts" made 93% of their overall high estimate in London on June 2nd: converting books and manuscripts into $2.3 million in paper money. Keyes, selling books on May 27th, achieved 82% of the high estimate, Piasa 78% on the 29th. The only sale that struggled was Christie's sale of "Winston Spencer Churchill: The Collection of Malcolm S. Forbes, Jr. Part I." Bidders and estimators were on different planets. While an acceptable percentage of the lots, 58%, sold the sale achieved only 41% of the aggregate high estimate. The market is not valuing Mr. Churchill as highly as Mr. Forbes did.
Taken together it was a very good showing. Whether rapid declines in the Pound and Euro are helping or hurting isn't clear. Certainly, for Americans who have felt priced out of Europe, the exchange rates significantly lower prices in dollars. For European dealers whose offers for awhile have looked high in North America, the lower exchanges rates bring relief.
Should the Pound and Euro continue to decline against the dollar as some pundits are projecting Europe, always the source of stellar material, may become appealing again based on price.
June 7th, 2010