Auction Update Review
It's now official. The auction houses are on vacation except when they are not. Here and there sales continue and the few reporting results seem to be doing well. The results are a drop in the bucket against the heavy numbers that will emerge come fall but they are positive small numbers. The two sales archived are 25 lots within a Bonhams Estate Auction on July 25th. All lots sold realized $9,560 against an aggregate high estimate of $8,900. The other sale was conducted in England by Keys Fine Arts Auctions. In that sale on July 29th 819 lots were offered and 594 lots sold for a 72.53% success rate. Against the aggregate high estimate of $63,190 the sale rang up $55,873 achieving 88% of the high estimate.
All this may sound a bit arcane but the simple fact is auctions which together consistently achieved a 75% success rate over the past decade [up into 2008] are trying hard to bring down reserves to ensure that lots sell. In the meantime everyone is hoping that prices recover. We'll know something good is happening if the consistent percentage of lots sold edges back toward 80% in 2010-11. Then we'll see reserves edging back up. What determines reserves and bids overall is the push-pull of need and fear.
One outcome of the slowing summer sales is that bidders are forced to concentrate on a smaller number of lots and this may marginally improve results. Come September we'll begin to see more data. For the moment, while not conclusive, the results are encouraging.
We've updated the monthly auction charts and a link is provided with this email. Is this the Valley of Death we're just climbing out of? That's one interpretation. Click on the Trend Charts link to review the revised charts.