Auction Update Review


August Arrives in a Year of Uncertainty

For the week ending Saturday July 30th we have archived 13 sales.  Four of them are past sales that we did not integrate into our results until last night.  For the nine recent sales all were denominated in dollars.  European houses are off for holiday.  Three thousand one hundred and fifty-two lots were offered and 2,396 sold for a 76% sell-through rate.  Turnover was relatively light and the results somewhat soft.  Reported turn over for the recent nine recent sales was $1,175,676.  Most of these sales took place in the past ten days and were selling under the penumbra of the American budget dispute and prospect of debt default.  No doubt outcomes were reduced, none more so than at JMW Auctions in Kingston that sold, in addition to 500 posters, 100 lots of books that included some very appealing material.  The auction house did its job but buyers hesitated and some important material sold for a fraction of its value.  Summer country auctions can be very exciting but when the national mood is somber prices can go low.


While outcomes overall were below par Cowan’s of Cincinnati conducted an online auction on July 23rd on the Western Expansion and did very well:  achieving 192% of the aggregate high estimate.  As 100% of the material offered sold it's fair to assume that reserves were low or non-existent.   Cowan’s provides high quality descriptions and has attracted a wide following.


Four other sales were archived.  One dated back six months and the other three to April.  In a few cases we inadvertently omitted the long since posted results.  In two other cases the results were disappointing to the house and results, until recently, withheld.  Every auction houses has some tough sales.  If you do this long enough everyone has a bad day.  We appreciate that all auction houses we cover have agreed to provide their results, be they good or difficult.  It makes for an honest if not always comfortable market.


Occasional problems aside the path forward for auction houses generally looks clear.  As one auction house representative mentioned this past week “we are seeing more consignors expressing their need to raise money.”  This translates into more consignments and sales.


For the coming week four sales are scheduled:


Monday August 1st:               Cowan’s Auctions.  American History;

Wednesday August 3rd.        Swann Galleries.  Vintage Posters;

Thursday August 4th.            Antiquarian Auctions.  Rare Book Auction;

Saturday August 6th.             Morton Case de Subastas.  Books, Records and Prints


While the number of sales is at its lowest level in August the material can be very good.  It is worth following.


Bruce McKinney


  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother (horizontal),</i> silver print, 1936. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Group of 32 WWII-era identification badges for manufacturing & military-related companies, 1940-50s. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Julia Margaret Cameron, <i>Alfred, Lord Tennyson,</i> albumen print, 1869. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Arnold Genthe, <i>Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt,</i> silver print, circa 1908. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Edward Curtis, <I>Oasis in the Badlands,</I> toned platinum print, 1905. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Francis Frith, three volumes, approximately 140 photographs, 1860-70s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Eugène Atget, <i>20 Photographs,</i> gold-toned silver prints by Berenice Abbott, 1898-1927. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b> Neil Leifer, <i>Muhammad Ali,</i> chromogenic print, 1965. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 11:</b><br>A group of approximately 50 Photomatic selfies of the same man taken over a period of time, 1940s. Estimate $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> STEINBECK, John (1902-1968). <i>The Pastures of Heaven.</i> New York: Brewer, Warren & Putnam, 1932. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> FITZGERALD, F. Scott (1896-1940). <i>Tender is the Night.</i> New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> STOKER, Bram (1847-1912). <i>Dracula.</i> Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company, 1897. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> GOLDING, William (1911-1993). <i>Lord of the Flies.</i> London: Faber and Faber, 1954. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> SALINGER, J. D. (1919-2010). The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HEMINGWAY, Ernest (1899-1961). <i>The Torrents of Spring.</i> New York: Scribner's, 1926. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HUXLEY, Aldous (1894-1963). <i>Brave New World.</i> London: Chatto & Windus, 1932. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> WELLS, H.G. <i>The Time Machine, an Invention.</i> New York: Henry Holt, 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> DAHL, Roald (1916-1990). <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.</i> New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Hindman Auctions<br>Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection<br>March 19, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> HERBERT, Frank (1920-1986). Dune. Philadelphia: Chilton Books, 1965. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> KESEY, Ken (1935-2001). <i>One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.</i> New York: The Viking Press, 1962. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, Mar. 19:</b> VONNEGUT, Kurt, Jr. (1922-2007). <i>Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade.</i> New York: Seymour Lawrence Delacorte Press, 1969. $2,000 to $3,000.