Auction Update Review
The auction season for books, manuscripts and ephemera is coming to life. After the late summer hiatus the number of auctions, lots and average auction realizations are all rising. And while both the unit and dollar volume will surge as the season progresses the battle is already launched.
For the week eight sales were archived, 2724 lots offered and 1,936 sold for a 71% success rate. Three sales were in Dollars, one is Euros, four in British Pounds. Sales totaled $5,681,089 when converted to dollars. Excluding the 112 lots of Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints at Christies in London on September 17th which brought $27,179 a lot, books, manuscripts and ephemera in the other sales brought $1,446 a lot, itself a substantial increase after lower averages all summer.
For those following Americana the Swann sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana; Latin Americana on the 17th was encouraging. Eighty-seven percent of the lots sold for $658,830, a 40% premium on the aggregate high estimate. In the UK Bonhams' Exploration & Travel Sale on the 16th, a small group of early globes carried their 102 lot sale to $1,434,718, a $14,065 average realization.
Alain and Evelyne Morel de Westgaver, of Belgium, sold 85.8% of their Books and Prints lots on the 12th, the best performance by percentage sold for the week. For all eight auctions the percentage of lots sold was 71.1%.
There was strength in the auction rooms and there is reason for optimism.
September 20, 2009