Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Auction Results: Photographs, May 21, 2009 @Bloomsbury London

The results of Bloomsbury's recent photography sale in London were at the bottom end of this season's general range: more than half bought-in and total proceeds less than half the total Low estimate.

This outcome makes me wonder about the layering of auction houses in the photography market, and whether a house that takes a lower price, higher volume strategy has different expectations about what the results should look like; perhaps all that matters if this strategy is employed is maximizing the total proceeds. The buy-in rate in this situation is interesting to specialists for tuning the mix of material and spotting changing trends/tastes, but not as much of a useful benchmark for collectors or other outsiders.

The summary statistics are below (all results include the buyer’s premium):

Total Lots: 269
Pre Sale Low Total Estimate: £293900
Pre Sale High Total Estimate: £443200

Total Lots Sold: 112
Total Lots Bought In: 157
Buy In %: 58.36%
Total Sale Proceeds: £135810

Here is the breakdown (using the Low, Mid, and High definitions from the preview post, here):

Low Total Lots: 254
Low Sold: 109
Low Bought In: 145
Buy In %: 57.09%
Total Low Estimate: £293200
Total Low Sold: £110610

Mid Total Lots: 14
Mid Sold: 3
Mid Bought In: 11
Buy In %: 78.57%
Total Mid Estimate: £100000
Total Mid Sold: £25200

High Total Lots: 1
High Sold: 0
High Bought In: 1
Buy In %: 100.00%
Total High Estimate: £50000
Total High Sold: £0

70.54% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range. There were a total of four surprises in this sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate): lot 4, Alfred Stieglitz, Selected plates from Camera Work, at £7200, lot 124, Florence Henri, Portrait of Erica Brausen, 1931, at £3600, lot 151, Alberto Korda, Entrance of Fidel Castro & Camilo in Havana, 1959 at £5760, and lot 269, William Baker and John Burke, Black Mountain Campaign, 1891, at £4080.

Complete lot by lot results can be found here.

Bloomsbury Auctions
24 Maddox Street
London WS1 1PP

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