Auction Update Review
Over the past week we have archived six sales: two in dollars, two in British Pounds, one in Mexican Pesos and one in Australian dollars. One thousand seven hundred and twenty-four lots were offered and 1,173 sold for a 68% rate of sale. Total turnover was $784,642, seventy-seven percent of the aggregate high estimate of all items offered. The week was better than it looked. August, traditionally the slowest month for auctions, has been seeing a steady flow of houses looking to capture a piece of what is becoming a more important month for sales. What with the annual calendar for auctions building month to month and year over year, the opportunity to reach prospective bidders in a moment of relative quiet becomes more attractive. Houses are not yet and perhaps never will post their most important sales during the summer but with dance cards filling we are seeing the end of the summer shut-down because bidders will bid whenever and wherever.
The Australian Book Auction company had the best performance both for total sales and percent of lots sold: $335,579, ninety-two percent of the aggregate high estimate. PBA also had a good week. It’s sale of Americana with ephemera & maps raised $235,218, eighty-one percent of the total high estimate. Bloomsbury, in London, in its continuing series of Bibliophile sales, raised $124,392 while selling 80% of the their lots.
Other houses are finding innovative ways to incorporate auction-able books into general sales. With better material and the relative ease for houses to estimate value more houses are integrating such material into mainstream sales. For the potential bidder as well it's increasingly easy to find things to buy in both obscure and sometimes simply unexpected places.
For the week ahead four sales are scheduled:
Tuesday August 16th Bonhams: 20th Century Prints;
Poulin Auctions: Important Maine Book Auction;
Wednesday Aug. 17th: Bonhams: The Scottish Sale – Books;
Doyle New York: Doyle at Home – Prints
For those who believe, as I do, that auction statistics provide an important narrative there is a pretty if fragile picture emerging that suggests recovery in the auction rooms is well underway. In the recently updated charts for “Trends in Book Auction Prices”, the twelve-month moving average of monthly lots by median price has been rising since April. As important the year over year change has swung into positive territory for the first time since August 2008.
August 14th, 2011