Auction Update Review


The Market Struggles, The Week Ending June 26, 2010

This week a dozen sales were archived. Six were conducted in the United States, another in US Dollars as an internet auction [], four in Europe in Euros, and one in the United Kingdom. It was generally a tough week continuing the noticeable slowing that has been evident since March. Five thousand and eighty-seven lots were offered and 3,352 sold for a 66% success rate. Seen another way, one third of all lots offered failed to sell and will be returning to disappointed consignors soon. No doubt, these consignors were hoping for cash. Taken together, market expectations seem to be falling faster than reserves. To keep the percentage of sales up the quality of the material will have to rise or estimates on lesser material fall. The market is signaling an adjustment.

For the week only one auction, Kapandji Morhange, had total sales that exceeded their total high estimate. They achieved an impressive 168%. Other sales that did well were Christie's who achieved 92% of the aggregate high estimate for their London sale of Vintage Film Posters on the 23rd; Le Libraire Alain Ferraton - 89% for their sale of Books and Prints on the 18th, and Alde 86% for their sale of Livres Prestige the same day. Three other sales failed to reach half of their total high estimate.

All this is not to say that every spark is out. Christie's held a major book sale in New York on the 22nd and realized $3,334,948, an impressive number though only 53% of the aggregate high estimate.

Bruce McKinney



  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition,</i> Mattachine Book Service. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Harvey Milk, 2 autograph letters signed, to Pat Mormon, during US Navy service, 1954. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>“The secret of life is in Art,”</i> autograph quotation dated and signed, 1882. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Daniel Abraham, original art for <i>Stonewall Romances,</i> pen, ink & gouache, 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Antonio Lopez, 9 men’s fashion studies, graphite, 1974. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Susie Gaynes & Amy E. Bartell, <i>March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights,</i> 1987. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Paris is Burning,</i> photo offset poster by Anne Dutlinger, signed by film director Jennie Livingston, 1991. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Toyen, pen & ink illustration from <i>Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti,</i> 1932. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> David Wojnarowicz, <i>Untitled (Genet with Dog),</i> mixed media collage. $8,000 to $12,000.