Auction Update Review
A dozen auctions were archived in the AED over the past week, a combination of continental European, English, American as well as one from Mexico. The sales were generally smaller than in past years, both the reserves and outcomes less than we were seeing three years ago. Four thousand nine hundred and eighty-six lots were offered and 3,531 sold for $2,413,152. The average lot brought $683. Four sales realized more than one hundred percent of their aggregate high estimates. Christie's in London sold paper related debris from the Lehman Brothers debacle on September 29th for 188% of the high estimate. Even in death Lehman still attracts interest. Le Librairie Alain Ferraton's sale of Books and Prints on September 24th brought 133% of the high estimate. The next day another Ferraton sale brought 118%. R. W. Olivers, of Kennebunk, Maine came out of retirement to stage a four day sale of the Green Family Estate in Worcester, Massachusetts realizing, on the 11th, 131% of the aggregate high estimate for historical material. Dominic Winter's sale of Books, Autographs, and Prints, in the UK, missed achieving 100% of the aggregate high estimate by less than one percent. Because reserves on any item cannot exceed the low estimate sales that reach and exceed the high are always the product of broad bidding. Not surprisingly, these same sales sold a high percentage of their lots, 86%. Five sales well short of 50% of the high estimate.
That potential bidders sort through thousands of lot descriptions and estimates each week to identify items to bid on and sales to attend, while systematically ruling out others, suggests serious auction buyers keenly follow the market. There is no other way to explain the consistency. Perhaps five thousand serious auction buyers together set the tone worldwide for the books, manuscript, maps and ephemera market.
A note about AE. We expect, later this week, to go live with our new site. The address, www.americanaexchange.com, remains the same. We'll send a notice as the new site comes up.