Deutscher and Hackett 29 April Art Auction Pt. 1 It appears that there are two different approaches that auction houses are taking at the moment in an effort to combat the more conservative market and the more discerning buyers
News-Antique.com - May 21,2009 - It appears that there are two different approaches that auction houses are taking at the moment in an effort to combat the more conservative market and the more discerning buyers. The first approach involves going all out and putting together a large catalogue of works that many would consider far too optimistic in the current climate. A large and extensive catalogue increases the chances of achieving a higher sale total but usually at the cost of the clearance rate and sold by value rate. The second approach involves putting together a much smaller catalogue of works with a focus on quality and saleability in an effort to achieve a higher clearance and sold by value rate but at the expense of the sale total. Which is better I hear you ask?. Well, going all out for a big sale total at the expense of the clearance rate is going to be more profitable for the auction house and appear more successful, however, the potential for alienating a larger number of clients whose work’s failed to sell is also much higher. In opinion the best approach is to cater to the current market trends and present a smaller catalogue of top works which is more likely to satisfy buyers and sellers and prove to be a positive move for the auction house in the long term, especially when the market rebounds. The optimum result would be a high total, high clearance rate and high sold by value rate which in this market I think could only be achieved with a small catalogue of exceptional and higher priced works combined with the right estimates and reserves.
Deutscher and Hackett seem to have taken the first option with their 29th April Fine Art auction and compiled a huge variety of fantastic works including several. The auction consisted of a healthy 215 lots of which 139 sold achieving a hammer total of $2,867,650 ($3,441,180 with premium) and 65% sold by volume making the average hammer price $13,338. The value of the catalogue using the mid estimate of each work was just over $5543000 which means that the auction hammer total was just over 51% of the value of the catalogue. Although the total value of works sold was not too bad, the percentage of works sold and the value of works sold compared to the total auction estimate were not great at all. Taking a look at how many works sold below, within or above estimate reveals that 63 works sold (hammer price) for below their estimate, 57 within their estimate and 19 above estimate. Had Deutscher and Hackett sold more works overall these statistics would have not been too bad but because they only sold 65% of the works on offer the 63 works that sold for below their estimate had a much greater impact.
It wasn’t all bad news for Deutscher and Hackett’s 29 April Art Auction as you will see in my next post.