Auction Update Review


If this is the quiet time ...

For the week ending July 14th 9 recently completed auctions were archived in the AED; 1 in euros, 3 in dollars and 5 in British pounds.  Eleven million dollars [$11,121,953] changed hands as 1,463 lots, against 1,882 offered, sold.  The action was in England with 5 sales realizing $10,222,475.


It was an odd week.  The percentage of lots sold was above average at 78% but total receipts, as a percentage of the high estimates, a bit light coming in at 75%.  Such variation from week to week tends to signify little unless underperformance becomes part of a larger pattern confirmed over months and quarters.   What is apparent is that the increasing number of auction events is causing houses to more often choose summer dates.  This month there are 49 events and in August 22 more.  These were prime season numbers a few years ago.  We are living in a different world.


Two sales reached 100% of the total of their high estimates:


Ader.  Letters, Manuscripts, Autographs on June 28th:  182%

Cowan’s.  Prints on July 11th:  105%


Three sales reached a million dollars:


Sotheby’s.  The History of Script:  sixty important manuscript leaves from the Schoyen Collection on July 10th:  $4,032,941

Sotheby’s.  Western Manuscripts and Miniatures on July 10th:  $1,966,063

Bonhams.  Prints on July 11th:  $1,658,787


Four sales saw more than 80% of their lots sell:


Heritage Auctions.  Rare book online ending July 12th:  93%

Cowan’s.  Prints ending July 11th:  88%

Neal Auction Company.  Prints ending June 30th:  82%

Ader.  Letters, Manuscripts, Autographs on June 28th:  81%   



For the week ahead 9 sales are scheduled:


Tuesday July 17th Freemans.  Books [1435a].  90 lots


Wed. July 18th Dominic Winter.  Old Master and Modern Prints [S330].  156 lots

                                    Freemans.  Prints [1435b].  8 lots


Thursday July 19th    Bloomsbury Auctions.  Antiquarian Books [35940].  578 lots

                                    Eldred’s.  Maine Art Part I [751].  172 lots

                                    Heritage Auctions.  Rare Books online bidding ending July 19th.  404 lots

                                    PBA Galleries.  Fine Americana – Travel – Cartography [484].  411 lots


Friday July 20th         Eldred’s.  Marine Art, Part II [751b].  18 lots


Sunday July 22nd Bonhams.  Asian Works of Art [20032].  118 lots


If this is the slow season we will be harried come fall.


Bruce McKinney


July 15th, 2012

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.