Auction Update Review
Everything but books did well this past week. There were 19 sales including three Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints sales at Sotheby’s  and Christies  that dominated the week. Between them 603 lots were offered for a total high estimate of $14,623,456 that was not enough to keep the bids and bidders within the estimates. That would have taken $16,643,516 + $1.00, or $33,154 for each of the 502 lots that changed hands.
Books by themselves were not so impressive. Sixteen sales were held offering 12,525 lots with 6,919 selling for a 55.24% sell-through. Images have been lighting up the rooms for some time while mid-level material has been struggling.
Generally the material failing to sell has minimums set above the best bid offered. It suggests the market is continuing to show weakness.
The ABAA book fair and the dozen
auctions occurring in New York during April will provide the best indication
year-to-date of what the year will bring.
There is both optimism and pessimism afoot and much seems to depend on
whether you are offering highly desirable material. The best is selling well but the definition
of “best” seems to rising.
While it’s a complicated market there continues to be very appealing material in the mix.
Several very significant collections are about to be placed with auction houses for the fall season. Swann has secured three sales, with the possibility of five extending into 2012, from Eric Caren. For Swann it’s coup as a Eric has been a leading collector [and dealer] in ephemera and newspapers for more than 25 years.