Auction Update Review
You can be forgiven for thinking yourself Francis Scott Key, the night is afire with explosions and you’re humming a tune for the first time that will become the Star Spangled Banner. It was that kind of week. Well almost. We aren’t yet seeing the heavy artillery but the flow of material into the rooms is now fast paced. Six thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight lots were offered and 5,160 sold. Not so long ago 18,000 lots for books, manuscripts, maps and ephemera were recorded on average in an entire year. We’ll see that many lots change hands this month while recording the fates of another 6,000 to 8,000 unsold items. The auctions are vibrant as supply and demand wage protracted warfare and prices continue to adjust. The rooms are the battleground.
For the week 22 sales were archived: 7 in dollars, 6 in Euros, 7 in British Pounds and one each in Swiss Francs and Mexican Pesos. Sales totaled $14,764,787, 79% of the aggregate high estimate - $18,802,180.
Photographs dominated the sales. Christie’s hammered down $6,816,000 on October 6th, Sotheby’s $5,523,000 on October 5th. Increasingly auctions are selling a wider array of works on paper.
Five auctions had sales in excess of 100% of their aggregate high estimate:
Keys Fine Arts: Book Days II – 317%;
Rupert Toovey and Co.: Postcards, Photos, Autographs, and Ephemera – 214%;
Dorotheum: Posters, Advertising Art, Comics, Film and Photo-history – 142%;
Galerie Bassange: Architektural Photography – 109%;
Bonhams: Travel and Photography – 104%
For the week ahead – 8 sales are scheduled:
October 10th Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts 
October 11th Henri Godts Books & Prints Auctions: Books from the 16th to 20th
Bloomsbury Auctions: Books (Roma 61)
October 12th Doyle New York: Doyle at Home 
Ader: Laboureur Succession - Prints, Drawings, Modern Paintings, Books (17493);
October 13th Bloomsbury Auctions: Prints 
Doyle New York: The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection 
October 14th Piasa: Comics 
October 9th, 2011