New Auction Update

- by Bruce E. McKinney


Frank Streeter: serious auction bidder

Five Sales Archived August 3-9

July is the slowest month until and unless you have seen August. In August the determination to get a break and take a break converges to bring the auction business almost to a full stop. For the week just past five auctions denominated in dollars, pounds and pesos were held in San Francisco, New York, Chester [UK], Los Angeles, and Mexico City. Results across national boundaries, denominated in different currencies, are continuing to tell the same story as has been the case this spring. The market is weak but functioning. This week 66.2% of all lots offered sold. In the ongoing battle between consignor reserves and willing bidders the percentage of lots changing hands continued to hover in the 65% to 70% where it has been stuck for several months. This suggests buying interest remains thin and a disproportionate number of lots are selling against reserves rather than others bidders.

There are two reasons to see some hopeful signs in these auction results. The market does not appear to be weakening and auctions generally are continuing to provide liquidity. What is not selling elsewhere is 65 to 70% of the time selling in the rooms. If the auctions hold, and sales elsewhere do not improve, more and better material will appear at auction this coming season.

Bruce McKinney AE 08/09/2009