Auction Update Review
Sixteen auctions were archived this past week; five denominated in British Pounds, five in Dollars, six in Euros. In New York Sotheby's continued to sell the James A. Copley Collection. The bellwether was an early printing of the Declaration of Independence which sold for $572,500, less than expected but nevertheless a substantial price. The two parts of the June 17th sale together brought almost $2.8 million. Swann, a $10 cab ride downtown sold "Maps, Atlases, Literature, Art & Illustrated Books" the same day for $591,005. The next day Sotheby's New York sold "Books and Manuscripts" for $2.350,314. Cowan's on the 11th, in Cincinnati, sold $558,536 of "American History including the Civil War".
In England the sales this week were somewhat smaller; altogether five events raising $1,125,182. Bloomsbury sold "The Stock in Trade of the Late Keith Oliver" and Dominic Winter "Printed Books & Maps" on the 16th; Bloomsbury "Bibliophile [Godalming] including Books from Crowe Hall, Bath"; Dominic Winter "19th & 20th Century Photography" and "Children's Books & Modern First Editions"; all on the 17th.
In Euroland the Romantic Agony sold "Books" on the 10th, Artcurial Briest-Le-Fur-Poulain-F. Tajan "Antique Books" on the 15th, and Bloomsbury Rome "Fotografia, Ambiguity" the same day. On the 16th Alde, in France, offered Manuscripts et Autographs", Piasa "Printed Books & Maps" and Sotheby's Milan "19th C. Paintings, Furniture, Maioica, Silver and Rare Books".
From the pace you could tell summer is coming.
The low estimate for items that sold in all 16 sales was $6.9 million, the high estimate $9.9 million. Realized prices for what sold was $10.7 million. However, $3.5 million of material, based on their aggregate high estimates, went unsold. Seventy-two percent of all lots sold, 76% of the total of the high estimates was achieved. Where the estimates were appealing the material sold. Where the estimates were high, more often than not, lots went unsold.
This week five sales reached or exceeded 100% of their projected high estimate: Sotheby's Milan on the 16th [200%], Dominic Winter on the 17th [121%], Artcurial Briest-Le-Fur-Poulain-F. Tajan on the 17th [109%], Alde on the 16th and Bloombury London on the 17th - both 100%.
The auction market functioned effectively. Prices seem to be coming down. Auction houses are guiding estimates lower and buyers coming in to bid.