Auction Update Review


The Froth of July

For the week ending July 7th, 2012 12 auctions were archived to the AED; 2 in British pounds, 3 in US dollars, and 7 in euros.  The turnover was light; $2,888,514 and only 44.8% of the total of the high estimates of all lots offered sold.  This was a very weak week but also the victim of bad timing.  The Americans were on vacation; the Europeans were packing and the Chinese worrying.  Romney was in New Hampshire trying on a helmet for his tank ride; Obama campaigning in up-for-grabs states hoping to divert attention from disappointing employment numbers.  Out in the real world those buyers who sought solace in the rooms all found something to buy.  The problem it seems was in the numbers; simply stated not enough bidders.  By this time come September the fall season, like the sun in the east, will be rising.  The main events, the race for the Presidency, the euro’s ongoing open-heart surgery, and the adjusting Chinese economy will be center stage but for they for whom works on paper are a passion the sounds of distant clashes will be but cymbals and kettledrums to their personal Mozart’s Fifth.  In the mean time we muddle through.


Three sales reached 100% of their high estimates for all lots offered:


Neret – Minet & Ressier.  Militaria on June 28th:  125%

Ader.  Ancient and Modern Books on July 4th:  105%

Alain & Evelyne Morel de Westgaver.  Books, Postcards and Prints:  104%


No sales reached a million dollars.


One sale sold 80% or more of their lots and another came close enough to warrant mentioning.


Heritage.  Rare Books ending July 5th:  94.2%

Alain & Evelyne Morel de Westgaver.  Books, Postcards and Prints:  79.1%


For the week ahead 11 sales are scheduled:


Tuesday July 10th Rossini.  Prints [19530].  162 lots

                                    Rupert Toovey and Co.  Books [1055].  295 lots

                                    Sotheby’s.  English Literature, History and Children’s Books and Illustrations [L12404].  178 lots

                                    Sotheby’s.  The History of Script:  Sixty Important Manuscript Leaves from the Schoyen Collection [L12242]

                                    Sotheby’s.  Western Manuscripts and miniatures [L12240].  36 lots


Wed. July 11th            Bonhams.  Prints [20018].  214 lots

                                    Cowan’s Auctions.  Prints [278].  108 lots

                                    Mealy’s Auctioneer’s.  Rare Books – Congreve Collection [71112].  264 lots

                                    Rupert Toovey and Co.  Prints [1054].  40 lots


Thursday July 12th    Bloomsbury Auctions.  Old Master & Traditional Prints and Vintage Posters [35928].  436 lots

                                    Heritage Auctions.  Rare Books ending July 12th  [201228].  401 lots


This is what summer looks like.

Bruce McKinney
July 8th, 2012

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Adam Smith, <i>Wealth of Nations,</i> first edition, descended from William Alexander, London, 1776. $70,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> George Gershwin, photograph signed & inscribed with autograph musical quotation, <i>An American in Paris,</i> 1928. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Friedrich Engels, <i>The Condition of the Working Class in England,</i> first edition, NY, 1887. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> <i>Bury St. Edmunds Witch Trials,</i> first edition, London, 1682. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Robert Rey, <i>Estampes,</i> complete portfolio of 12 wood engravings, Paris, 1950. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Archive of 47 letters by Enrico Caruso to a lady friend, 1906-20. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Books of Hours in Flemish, Netherlands, 15th century. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Doctor Sax,</i> deluxe limited edition, signed, NY, 1959. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Walt Disney, signature on title-page of Ward Greene’s <i>Lady and the Tramp,</i> first edition, first printing. $3,000 to $4,000.