Auction Update Review
This was a very good week for book auction houses, for consignors, buyers and arm chair impresarios. Any way you slice it the numbers look good. Ten auctions raised $5.65 million against their aggregate high estimate of $5.7. That's ten auctions together achieving 99% of their high estimate. It confirms that bidders, rather than consignors [through reserves], are establishing prices. Continuing performance along these lines will go a long way to restoring confidence and encouraging new collectors into the field. While these are just the results of a single week it is an indication that when savvy auction houses and intelligent consignors work together two objectives are obtained: good prices and strong encouragement to collectors. This makes this past week, to quote the 1960's television show "the week that was."
Confidence for consignors and auction houses going forward will be born in reality, not misplaced optimism. The emerging formula for auction success is careful selection, solid description, extensive illustration, enticing estimates, extensive publicity, early posting [a minimum of 17 days] and multiple channels for bidder participation. The book business is a mosaic and every part has its place.
While Christies was the dollar champion Bloomsbury in the UK took honors for best single performance of overall sales versus total high estimate. Their sale of Natural History on the 23rd brought 171% of the high estimate. Alain and Evelyne Morel de Westgaver achieved 147%. Bloomsbury, selling the Library of the 5th Marquis Camden Will Trust 135%, Christies' Travel, Science and Natural History sale in London on the 23rd 117%. This is very difficult to achieve.
Many other sales did well. Click on the first sale and cursor through them. In doing so, whatever your role and relation to the field, whether a buyer or seller, the news is good, the results refreshing.
An update on AE. We are now beta testing the new site. The feedback is very positive, the approach fresh. If you would like to have a look send me an email at email@example.com. Include your phone number. If you previously volunteered for beta testing we'll contact you this week. We're now aiming for an October 5th release.