Auction Update Review

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The Tide Rises

Thirteen Sales Archived

Again this week the market for photographs dominates the recently archived auctions.  Sotheby’s and Christies, as is their wont, occupied center stage.  Between them they accounted for $9.4 million of the $17,470,256 archived.  Overall 7,028 lots were offered and 5,356 lots sold for an 76% sell-through.   Total sales for the week achieved 88% the aggregate high estimate of $19,709,957.  It’s always a good sign when the total of all sales approaches the aggregate high estimate but given that 48% of all sales were for photographs I’ll hold off with the hosannas as far as books are concerned.

 

Heritage also had a good week.  Their two sales, of Signature Historical Manuscripts and Rare Books raised $2,791,673.  They are making an impression and making themselves felt.

For the recent reporting week the following houses achieved at least 100% of their aggregate high estimate:

Christies - Travel, Science and Natural History on 4/6:  165%
Sotheby's  - Photographs on 4/6:  130%
Jeschke - van vliet - Medical Books on 3/26:  122%
Ader - Books, Photographic Collection on3/31:  101%
Christies - Photographs on 4/8:  100%

Sotheby’s and Christie’s, anymore, are less interested in material that brings $1,500 to $5,000 but Swann, Bonham’s and Heritage understand very well that most important collections contain a mix of high and mid-level material and to land complete collections its necessary to sell all the material.  Another important collection will probably be consigned this week for sale, its contents this very mix of expensive and less expensive material.   Auction houses want to hold to a standard but collectors, over a lifetime acquire things that together form a collection but may not, in every case, meet the minimum valuation an auction house sets.  They are often going to consign to houses that will handle all their material.

 

We counsel the sale of complete collections rather than parts because [1] for the collector, a catalogue is a fitting and somewhat enduring end to a collection and [2] when material is marketed as a collection it almost always does better than when its disparate parts are scattered among many sales.

 

Many collections will be coming out, some of them the property of dealers who have worn both dealer and collector hats for many decades.

Bruce McKinney
AE 

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
  • <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 1805 TN Supreme Court Book, John Overton and Hugh White Opinions. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> TN Lunsford Bramlett Archive, incl. Polk White House Invitation, 8 Items. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Civil War Archive, incl. Gen. Bate on Death of Polk, Capture of Nashville. $2,000 to $2,400.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 5 Dickens 1st Ed. Books, incl. Edited by Author. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Charles Dickens, 5 Christmas Books, 1st Eds. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 2 Slave Documents, Nashville TN & North Carolina. $700 to $900.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Maurice Sendak Signed Items, incl. Nutcracker, Pierre. $500 to $600.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 7 Phillip Roth Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $500 to $550.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 6 Kurt Vonnegut Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $400 to $500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Edward Gorey Items, incl. Print + 2 Books. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Josef Albers, INTERACTION OF COLOR, 1963. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Henri Matisse Jazz Portfolio for MOMA, 1st Ed., 1983. $600 to $800.