Auction Update Review
Two recently reported auction sales, Bruun Rasmussen on August 22nd and New England Auctions on July 27th achieved that rare daily double, two long shots so to speak running away from the field at Churchill Downs. In a year when auctions have been taking the market's pulse success has become defined as stabilization of the balance between declining prices and rising percentage of lots sold. In this week's report we see two houses achieving a selling percentage that show bidders paying up when they see value. Together they sold 98% of their lots for an aggregate 94% of the high estimate. It is a terrific performance. The norm over the past 10 years for percentage of lots sold was 74-75%, over the past year 70%.
In these sales no doubt both buyer and seller expectations were realized. Such performance is encouraging if at this point merely anecdotal. After all, what unifies these sales is the fluke of their being archived the same week. They took place a month apart. Nevertheless it's good to see. I believe there will be more encouraging results ahead.
There is as well elsewhere evidence, again mostly anecdotal, that serious acquirers remain intensely interested in acquisitions. What's changing are the magnitudes of negotiation if with dealers, and if at auction the tendency of winning bids to approach the high estimates. Prices are finding levels that entice bidders to buy and browsers to seriously negotiate. I expect this is what market bottoms and nascent recoveries often look like.
As the last days of traditional summer ease into fall at AE we are transitioning to new software, new databases and a fresh presentation of books, manuscripts and ephemera appropriate to the first decade of the 21st century. The new site should be 'up' by mid-month with further software releases over the following month and a half.