Auction Update Review


A Good Week

For the week ending November 17, 2012, 20 auctions were archived to the AE Database. Nine were in U.S. dollars, 5 in British pounds, and 6 in euros. All but one took place between November 11-16. Sales were strong, with a 78% sell-through rate. Typically, that number is in the low 70s. If threats of America slipping off the fiscal cliff, Europe rolling back into recession, and wider war breaking out in the Middle East were making buyers nervous, they didn't display such fears in the auction rooms. Hopefully, this poll of buyers of works on paper signals these fears are overblown.

In total, 4,147 lots were offered, 3,235 hammered down to new owners. Total sales were $38,458,000, just under 78% of the total high estimates of all lots offered. This, too, is a good number. There is a caveat here - $27 million of these sales were attributable to Christie's sale of Andy Warhol prints. Warhol remains an icon of the generation now in its prime buying years, and everything his brush touched has turned to gold. It will take a few more generations to determine whether history concludes his contributions to the arts were as important as those of Shakespeare to literature, or of Nico to the Velvet Underground. However, once the large Warhol sale is removed, we find sales percentages of the remaining more traditional items virtually the same. It was still a good week.

Four sales reached the million dollar mark:

Christie's. Andy Warhol Benefit: $27,040,092.

Christie's. Photographs: $3,829,677.

Sotheby's. Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History: $3,537,094.

Bonham's. Books, Maps and Manuscripts: $1,224,944.

Two sales achieved currency volumes of over 100% of their total of high estimates:

Bruun Rasmussen. Books: 131%.

Bonham's. Books, Maps and Manuscripts: 114%.

Eight auctions sold more than 80% of their lots:

Freeman's. Historic Muhlenberg Property from a Private Collection: 100%

National Book Auctions. Books and Ephemera: 100%.

Neret – Minet & Tessier. Comic Strips: 93%.

Christie's. Andy Warhol Benefit: 92%.

Freeman's. Pennsylvania Sale: 90%.

Bruun Rasmussen. Books: 88%.

Heritage Auctions (online). Rare Books: 83%.

Skinner's. Fine Books and Manuscripts: 80%.

Despite the Thanksgiving holiday in America, the coming week will still be active, with 15 sales scheduled:

Mon. Nov. 19:

Alde: Modern Illustrated Books, Children's Books.

Ketterer Kunst / F. Doerling: Rare Books

Sotheby's: Books and Manuscripts.

Tues. Nov. 20:

Ketterer Kunst / F. Doerling: Rare Books.

Swann Galleries: 19th and 20th Century Literature.

Wed. Nov. 21:

Christie's: Valuable Books and Manuscripts.

Pierre Berge and Associates: Books.

Thurs. Nov. 22:

Heritage Auctions (online): Rare Books.

Fri. Nov. 23:

Ader: Books for Children.

Artcurial Briest: Comic Strips.

Bloomsbury Auctions: Photographs.

Cornette de Saint Cyr: Photographs.

Ketterer Kunst / F. Doerling: Old Master Prints.

Keys Fine Arts: East Anglia.

Sat. Nov. 24:

Artcurial Briest: Comics.

Lots for each of these auctions are now available on the AE website, so you can go to now and go to the auction calendar to see all lots available at each auction, or use the search box at the top of the page to search for items in topics of interest at all 15 of these auctions, and others in the weeks ahead.

Mike Stillman


November 18, 2012

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>