Auction Update Review
Fifteen sales were archived, 7,186 lots offered and 4,243 lots sold. Auction houses have been selling 70% + this spring so this counts as a tough week. It’s not unexpected however. The auction market, heading into summer, is already thinking about fall and beginning to look past the summer doldrums which may be setting in early. What with default prospects in Greece back in the headlines and unemployment rates in the United States back over 9% its easy to imagine that bibliophiles could be distracted. Total turnover was substantial - $14 million. Had a higher percentage of lots sold $17 million could easily have changed hands. It turns out the auctions, even on an off week, are robust.
Behind the numbers there is evidence of what many in the trade have been saying for sometime: expensive material is selling and less expensive material is not. That’s in line with this week’s results – total sales approaching the aggregate high estimate of all lots offered while only 59% of all lots sold. The desirable, rare and exceptionally valuable changed hands while the lesser lights did less well.
No single week provides more than anecdotal information however. In the auction field it takes three months to confirm which way the wind is blowing.
Of the 15 sales archived only three reached or exceeded 100% of their aggregate high estimates.
Bonhams. Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs on June 7th – 181%,
Sotheby’s. Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts on June 8th – 120%,
Galerie Bassange. 15th – 19th Century Prints on May 26th, 100%
These houses are doing consistently well.
For the week ahead 15 sales are scheduled:
Monday June 13th Christie’s. Books
Wednesday June 15th Christie’s. Vintage Film Posters
Dominic Winter. Printed Books and Maps
Thursday June 16th Dominic Winter. Children’s and Illustrated Books
PBA Galleries. Fine Literature, Illustrated and Children’s Books
Friday June 17th Kiefer – Buch – und Kunstauktionen. Books [77a]
Le Libraure Alain Ferraton. Ancient & Modern Books – Drawings & Prints – first vacation
Sotheby’s. Fine Books and Manuscripts
The Romantic Agony. Books
Saturday June 18th Coutau-Begarie. Comics
Kiefer – Buch – und Kunstauktionen. Books [77b]
Kiefer – Buch – und Kunstauktionen. Books [77c]
Le Libraire Alain Ferraton. Ancient & Modern Books – Drawings & Prints – first vacation
The Romantic Agony. Books
Sunday June 19th Bonhams. Sunset Estates – Books and Manuscripts
Even into the inevitable summer slowdown the pace of auctions continue to be brisk.
June 12th, 2011