Auction Update Review
Auctions never stop but the pace varies day to day, month to month, season to season. The sales for many years have increasingly been concentrated in the 'best' months, April to June in the spring and October to December in the fall. As a consequence there are now more than 60 sales in the primary months and barely 20 in the quiet ones. This January we are still recovering from the December bacchanalia where there were not only many sales but also some of the most important ones.
That the pace has slowed is the necessary quiet that emphasizes the increasing importance of the principal selling periods. Most libraries and collectors will welcome the respite. Enjoy it now for it will not last. Already major sales are afoot. Frank Benevento, of Palm Beach, recently consigned his collection of highly important maps to Sotheby's in London to be sold later this spring. As well, Sotheby's in New York a week ago announced that it had landed the right [and responsibility] to handle the deaccession of a substantial portion of the Copley collection of manuscripts and books which "includes about 2,000 items and has been valued at more than $15 million."
The four auctions archived this week include the Oger et Camper sale of October 22. Almost all auction houses now regard the timely reporting of results as a requirement. In adapting that view they are undoubtedly correct. As the world of collectibles is rebuilt on line the expectation is for quick if not immediate reporting. Auction houses that are slow to report will find themselves less and less able to convince consignors they are serious.
January 24, 2010