Thursday, April 30, 2009

Auction: Photographic Literature & Fine Photographs, May 14, 2009 @Swann

Following up on its February sale, Swann Galleries is offering a combination sale of photo books and photographs in mid May. In the books section, there are 146 lots, with a full set of Edward Curtis' The North American Indian and a wide variety of Japanese photo books being the highlights of a generally solid group. The photographs section has 265 lots, a heterogeneous mix of primarily 20th century material. As always, the sale is heavily tilted toward the low end. (Catalogue cover at right.)

Here are the statistics for the auction:

Total Lots: 411
Total Low Estimate: $1527750
Total High Estimate: $2212700

Total Low Lots (high estimate below $10000): 383
Total Low Estimate (sum of high estimates of Low lots): $1333700

Total Mid Lots (high estimate between $10000 and $50000): 26
Total Mid Estimate: $495000

Total High Lots (high estimate above $50000): 2
Total High Estimate: $420000

Overall, while there aren't many photographs in this sale that we found to be a great fit for our particular collection, there are plenty of photo books that we don't currently have in the library and would like to. A few of them include:

Lot 28, Shomei Tomatsu, Nagasaki 11:02
Lot 58, William Klein, Life is Good & Good for You in New York
Lot 62, Eikoh Hosoe, Embrace
Lot 79, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Chicago, Chicago
Lot 88, Ed Ruscha, Thirtyfour Parking Lots
Lot 117, Takashi Homma, Suburbia
Lot 134 Walter Niedermayr, Momentary Resorts

For some reason however, we seem to be very price sensitive on photo books, and generally not willing to pay large premiums for scarce books. We'll generally wait around to see if anything we want doesn't sell, and then go in for an after sale bid, hoping to pick one off at or below the reserve. I guess we're just not true photo book collectors.

The complete lot by lot catalog can be found here.

Photographic Literature & Fine Photographs
May 14th

Swann Galleries
104 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010

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