Clarion List

The Clarion List, an online directory of art services and providers, including appraisers.  The Clarion List, developed by Gaia Banovich and Jessica Paindiris both  past executives with Christie's Fine Art Storage.

The list is currently limited to Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Palm Beach and San Francisco, but it is growing and expanding quickly, so it would be wise to keep an eye on this site as it moves into new geographic regions.

The Clarion List currently has 23 art service categories, covering everything from galleries to appraisers, and including but not limited to insurers, framers, art funds, logistics, lenders, and auction houses.The category list is rather inclusive for allied art professionals.

It is well worth visiting the site to see if you can claim a listing as well as registering for news and updates. There are currently nearly 2,500 art service providers listed.

Click HERE to visit the Clarion List.

The new site was recently featured in Forbes and the Observer, so word of the site is getting to collectors and to appraisers and allied art professionals.

Forbes and the Observer reports
Gaia Banovich and Jessica Paindiris thought they had landed dream jobs as managers at Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services, a subsidiary of the world’s largest art auction house. With yearly sales above $3.5 billion and a staggering list of worldwide clients, Christie’s would appear to be a well-resourced hub for everything art collectors and sellers might need.

Not so. Banovich and Paindiris soon discovered that the art market often was opaque and sourcing vendors relied on word of mouth.

There are two common inquiries at an art auction house: how the right collectors and sellers can match and how to preserve valuable art requiring very particular services. Christie’s, it turned out, did not readily have the resources to offer recommendations. And without a reliable online database for such needs, managers like Banovich and Paindiris would have to rely on their personal connections. They would politely step away from a client or say they would call back, and then begin phoning colleagues for suggestions. Sometimes, Banovich said, the recommended services were not the best quality but stale gambles.

“The last time I spoke with that person was three or four years ago,” a colleague would tell Banovich. “I don’t know if they’re still in business. When you contact them, can you let me know? I need to update my rolodex as well.” The art business deals relics, but, as Paindris said, these managers realized it needed to be brought into “the 21st century and share knowledge online.”

On Monday, Banovich and Paindiris launched The Clarion List, an online directory of high-quality art service providers with ratings and reviews. “This was previously an unavailable resource,” Paindiris explained. “We really wanted to democratize the art world.”

Clarion List has 23 art service categories, from art consultants and art storage to private art dealers and art appraisers, with more than 2,400 companies available in six markets (Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Palm Beach and San Francisco). Searches can be refined by location, art specialty, years of experience, company size and rating. The ratings and reviews feature enables the art community to publicly comment on the quality of these companies. Paindiris said the plan is to continually increase the resources based on research and user suggestions. “This is a living, breathing database that is constantly being updated to help our audience.”

Paindiris offered several scenarios that Clarion List makes easier for art collectors and services: collectors may not realize exactly what they need to protect their art and can learn from the site; a user can pursue a new investment with the site’s 22 art fund managers; with 18 art leasing categories, the site shows companies that temporarily install an impressive piece of art instead of paying the sales price to own it; the site boasts insurers and insurance brokers, lighting specialists and art movers, and lenders who can lend against the collection while often letting an owner keep the artwork at home; for litigation, the site displays 74 law firms; appraisers and consultants help navigate with the collection upon death of the collector; and for divorces, the site offers private dealers for discreet sales.

Perhaps the coolest offering of all, if artwork is stolen, the site suggests an art recovery service–”Which is really niche,” Paindiris bragged.
Source: Forbes

The Observer reports
Art enthusiasts, collectors, artists and advisors, behold: the Yelp for art services. The first public database of art companies in the U.S. officially launched today. This can’t be bad, right? I mean…

Two former Christie’s executives, Jessica Paindiris and Gaia Banovich, created The Clarion List, which gives art collectors access to reviews of a range of services.

“While we were there [at Christie’s], we noticed that the art market was very opaque,” Ms. Paindiris told the Observer. “We realized everyone was relying on word of mouth or referrals. This is kind of silly. We should welcome the art world to the 21st century.”

Whether you’re looking for an art gallery, a private dealer, an attorney or an art storage provider, The Clarion List has you covered. The founders believe the platform will be helpful to both seasoned collectors and new collectors alike. “Even if you don’t consider yourself an art collector, if you just inherited your parent’s work, the site can be helpful,” Ms. Paindiris said.

While on The Clarion List, clients can search by category, location and featured listings to find exactly what they need in the art world. (Photo: Jessica Paindiris/ The Clarion List)
While on The Clarion List, clients can search by category, location and featured listings to find exactly what they need in the art world. (Photo: Jessica Paindiris/ The Clarion List)
The new platform currently lists companies in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Palm Beach, Fla. All directory and listings are available for free.

“We’re trying to democratize the art market, and make it accessible and transparent for the first time,” Ms. Paindiris explained. A lofty goal to be sure, but one that no regulatory agency or governmental body has yet accomplished. Still, the internet is pretty amazing.

Besides providing a list of services, The Clarion List also includes ratings and reviews. Ms. Paindiris refers to it as the “Yellow Pages” of art information, adding that it’s the first time the art community has been able to publicly comment on these companies.

The new website also includes a blog called The Clarion Circle that will provide service journalism for would-be art collectors.

“We felt that there’s a lot of blogs and new sources out there about art, artists and art values, but what was lacking was more of an educational component,” Ms. Paindiris said. Besides aggregated articles, the Clarion Circle also includes original content written by the co-founders.

The Clarion List plans to expand to other markets soon.
Source: The Observer 


Results: Sotheby's London Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale

Sotheby's has released the results from its London Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale. The sale totaled $134.9 million including buyers premium. It offered 53 lots with 38 selling for, 71.7% sold by lot rate. That is more on the poor side of a sales rate, but not awful for the category either.  artnet reported this disturbing fact,  "23 or 60.5% sold either on or below their low estimates."

According to Sotheby's the pre-sale estimates totals for the Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist was $142.32 million to $201.71 million.  So the sale did not reach the low estimate even with sales premiums included. There are also reports of unrealistic estimates and that many guarantees were also involved, which can hinder bidding.

artnet news reported on the sale

Depth of bidding was rare, and while there were signs of life from a Russian contingent, there seemed to be none from Asia. An adjustment to boom level demand is clearly taking place.

The top lot, as anticipated, was Picasso's 1935 painting ‘Tete de Femme," which is portrait of his young lover, Marie-Therese Walter. Though not one of the best of that series, it was bought in New York in November 2013 above the estimate for $40 million. Back with a virtually unchanged estimate of £16-20 million ($23.4-29 million), it was bid up by financier, Samir Traboulsi, before selling to a private collector bidding by phone for £18.9 million ($27 million), representing a substantial loss to the seller.

Completely fresh to the market was Matisse's gloriously colored and affectionate La Leçon de Piano (1923), that had been owned by the family of Scottish businessman Royan Middleton since he acquired it from Vincent van Gogh's UK dealer, Alex Reid, in 1927.

Middleton owned five Matisse's and is probably the least known and most discreet of UK collectors of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art in the first half of the 20th century. The painting carried the highest estimate ever placed at auction on a Matisse of £12-18 million and met with some reluctance to bid.

The stalemate in the room was only broken by the opportunistic David Nahmad who bought it for £10.8 million. After the sale he posed by it proudly for selfies taken by a younger Nahmad. #MyLatestBargain?

Sotheby's made something of the fact that Lucian Freud owned a cast of another star lot, Rodin's sexually-explicit bronze Iris, Messagere des Dieux, and kept it at the bottom of his bed. No doubt that has a tale or two to tell. The cast at Sotheby's also had a tale, as it once belonged to actor Sylvester Stallone. Unfortunately for him he had parted with it before June 2007, when it was auctioned with an estimate of £400,000, and hit the jackpot with a record £4 million price. The American collector who bought this lifetime cast, one of only two known in private hands, agreed an estimate of £6-8 million, the highest that I am aware of for a Rodin bronze at auction. Again the room seemed not to respond. But first a bid from Norwegian dealer Ben Frija, and then another from a telephone, saw the two become locked in a bidding war until it finally sold to Frija for £11.6 million ($17 million). It was the most hotly-contested lot of the evening.
Source: artnet news 


Sotheby's and the Taubman Sale

I had been planning on posting this but for some reason a few other items got into my queue first.  The results from the Sotheby's $515 million guarantee of the Taubman collection are in and the auction expected to lose $12 million in the 4th quarter of 2015 because of the shortfalls from the sale.

While this does not include the Old Master sale held in late January, as well as other items in upcoming sales, expectations are that Sotheby's will lose millions due to the high guarantee. Final numbers will be announced later in February. But, Sotheby's had no choice as they could not lose the collection of its former owner to a competitor.

The NY Times reports
For months, the art world had been wondering: Would the biggest guarantee in auction history pay off? Would Sotheby’s come out ahead, break even or be left holding the bag on a $515 million commitment to the collection of its disgraced former chairman, A. Alfred Taubman?

Now the results are in.

On Friday, the auction house announced that it expected to lose $12 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 as a result of the Taubman sale, because of a revenue shortfall and related expenses. The company also said it would eliminate its quarterly cash dividend, which had been in place since 2006, a move the company estimated would save $27 million to $28 million.

“As a result of the guarantee shortfall, no net auction commission revenue will be recognized for the Taubman collection in the fourth quarter of 2015 or in 2016,” Tad Smith, the president and chief executive of Sotheby’s, said Friday morning in a conference call with analysts and investors to report the latest earnings.

Sotheby’s beat Christie’s for the collection — which ranges from old masters to 20th-century masterworks — by offering its record-setting guarantee to the family of Mr. Taubman, who went to prison for his role in a price-fixing scandal with Christie’s and died last April. There was considerable skepticism in the art market about whether Sotheby’s had overpaid, and dire predictions that the auction house would take a bath.

The consensus now seems to be that the Taubman gamble was unfortunate, albeit unavoidable.

“You can see the competitive challenges in losing something that close to you, but they were kind of taken to the cleaners,” said George Sutton, an analyst at Craig-Hallum. “Hopefully, there’s never a scenario like that again.”

Mr. Smith maintains that the Taubman guarantee is not a sign of things to come, that Sotheby’s will carefully weigh the risks in undertaking future commitments.

“There was only one Alfred Taubman,” Mr. Smith said in November, adding that the collection’s size and importance made the consignment “important to win.”

And on Friday Mr. Smith sounded generally positive about Sotheby’s prospects, partly because the board had authorized the auction house to repurchase $325 million in shares — up from $125 million — which would be funded by the repatriation of Sotheby’s foreign earnings.

Sotheby’s released its fourth-quarter results early so it could repurchase shares, a move that the company had hoped to make in December but delayed while negotiating to buy Art Agency, Partners.

“The question is, what’s driving the enthusiasm around buying back the stock?” Mr. Sutton said. “It seems like a good short-term thing. It seems like a challenging move long term, unless you’re much more confident about the cycle than we can be right now.”

Sotheby’s acquired the Art Agency team — Amy Cappellazzo, Allan Schwartzman and Adam Chinn — early this month for $50 million, plus a conditional $35 million to build Sotheby’s advisory and private sales business.

Despite art-world concerns that the market may be softening, Ms. Cappellazzo, on Friday’s call, sounded bullish. “The larger art market is on the hunt,” she said. “They’re still looking for good things. While the market might be somewhat more selective, it’s still solid.”

Aside from the Taubman blow to earnings, Sotheby’s margin for the quarter and the full year improved over 2014.

In total, the auction house is estimating a net loss of $10 million to $19 million for the quarter — compared with net income of $74 million the year before — partly because of a $37 million pretax charge associated with about 80 buyouts late last year.

Sotheby’s full-year adjusted net income for 2015 is estimated to be $138 million to $142 million, compared with $142 million in 2014. The remaining Taubman property, much of which comes up at an old masters sale on Wednesday, has a low estimate of about $24 million but could also fall short.

Any additional Taubman losses, Mr. Smith said, would be accrued to the fourth quarter of 2015; the final tally will be announced in late February.

Sotheby’s stock price closed at $23.76 on Friday, up 4.35 percent.
Source: The NY Times 


Resurgent Old Master Market?

The Telegraph takes a look at the recent Old Master sale at Sotheby's which, according to the article in certain instances, did better than many had expected. But, is that not the normally the case, some do well, a few surprises, and then as expected.  The Telegraph notes the strong sales, but also acknowledges that there were, and still are some disappointing sales for the sector.

The Telegraph reports
New York’s Old Master sales last week faced an uphill struggle at the off, but managed to do better than many had feared. Storm Jonas kept many people away from the important weekend previews. The dollar was strong, stock markets volatile, and the media running negative features on the art market.

Christie’s, which had seen its Old Master sales dip by 37 per cent last year, had shifted its sale date back to April, leaving Sotheby’s stranded on its own. The latter also had to contend with a general obsession with the $515 million (£360 million) guarantee it had made on the Alfred Taubman collection. Already behind on the guarantees for his modern and contemporary art, sold last November, the house now faced long odds against the former chairman’s Old Masters making the hoped for $21 million. But in the event it did, just.

The strongest suits were Taubman’s 17th century baroque and 18th century Italian view paintings, both genres that seem to be in vogue with collectors if the quality is good. Taubman bought Crowning with Thorns by French painter Valentin de Boulogne in 1996, when demand for Caravaggio-influenced baroque paintings was weak, below estimate for $882,500. Last week it attracted bidding from north and south America, selling for $5.2 million.

Another good profit was made on a picture of the Grand Canal in Venice, which Taubman bought in 1985 as “attributed to Canaletto” (i.e. not sure) for $113,000. The doubters were right because scholarship has moved on, and when the experts saw the painting, which had been out of view for 30 years, they realised it was by Canaletto’s brilliant nephew, Bernardo Bellotto. Now armed with a positive attribution, it sold to London dealer Richard Green for $3 million.

But elsewhere, it was also evident how areas of this market have remained static, or even declined. A painting of a horse and jockey by John Frederick Herring Sr, for which Taubman had paid $150,000 in 1986, when the British sporting art market was in its prime, sold for just $32,000.

At Sotheby’s other evening sale, bidding by Russians and modern art collectors for Rubens and a follower of Hieronymus Bosch enlivened proceedings, but half the lots were unsold. London dealer Johnny Van Haeften had little competition buying an immaculate view of Haarlem Town Hall by Pieter Jansz Saenredam for $3 million; and a South American collector was the only bidder for a powerful rendition of St Martin healing a writhing man by the Flemish Baroque artist Jacob Jordaens, which he bought for a record $4.7 million.

The highlight of the week without question, however, was the record $30.5 million (£21.4 m) paid for Orazio Gentileschi’s Danae, the highest price ever for a 17th-century Italian painting. The painting captured the moment when, according to Greek legend, Danae was impregnated by Zeus, showering gold from the heavens upon her. The price was on a par with the auction record for Rembrandt, and places Gentileschi among the top ten selling Old Masters at auction (not allowing for inflation).

Sotheby’s had estimated it would fetch $25 million, and after just four very slow bids, including one from Asia, it was knocked down to private dealer Fred Bancroft. Bancroft then walked up to the rostrum and handed Sotheby’s department head, George Wachter, a piece of paper. It revealed that the buyer was in fact the J Paul Getty Museum, whose representatives were sitting quietly at the back of the saleroom.

The museum’s director, Timothy Potts, said Danae was “one of the most important Baroque paintings to come to the market in living memory”. It was somehow significant that the painting had come from the collection of the dealer Richard Feigen, who bought it privately in 1977 for a reported £300,000. Feigen has been a leading critic of the way values have since become distorted in the art market in favour of contemporary art.

But while the price reminds us that great Old Masters can make big money, it is still lower than the records for contemporary artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat ($48.8 million) and Gerhard Richter ($46 million), and not much more than the records for younger artists Christopher Wool ($29.9 million) and Peter Doig ($26 million).

By the end of the week, Sotheby’s had taken $97.5 million (£68.5 million), a shade below the pre-sale estimate, but, partly due to the large amount of material on offer, above average for a series of Old Master sales.
Source: The Telegraph 


Sotheby's and Christie's

The Economist recently published an interesting article about the changes happening at Christie's and Sotheby's. It touches on many things we have already seen and posted on, such as flat 2015 sales, concerns about 2016 sales, guarantees, technology, an informed marketplace, finding and the cost of acquiring new collectors in emerging markets and competition from other houses.

Overall the information is not new or groundbreaking in any form, but it is a good synopsis of what is going on at the duopoly of Sotheby's and Christie's.

The Economist reports
BETWEEN them Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the Western world’s two largest auction houses, have been in business for 522 years. They display many of the characteristics of old men: a gouty gait that makes them slow to adapt; and a fixation on ancient rivalries that leads them to butt heads repeatedly rather than focus on reviving their businesses for the rapidly changing world around them.

Striving to stay on top is hard work. Christie’s, a private company owned by a French luxury-goods billionaire, François Pinault, gives little away. But in a brief overview of its 2015 results, released on January 26th, it admitted that sales were down by 5% compared with 2014, to £4.8 billion ($7.4 billion). “This is a blip,” its deputy chief executive, Stephen Brooks, insists. More worrying was the news that the slump was not just in Old Master paintings, in which buyers have for some time been losing interest. Sales also slipped in the areas that have been the engines of recent growth: watches, wine, even post-war and contemporary art, which has captured the imagination of the global new rich but which fell by 14% in sterling terms and 20% in dollars.

Four days earlier, Sotheby’s new chief executive, Tad Smith, told analysts in New York that its sales were flat compared with 2014’s, that the firm would post fourth-quarter losses of up to $19m and that it was scrapping its dividend. Sotheby’s shares have fallen by more than half in the past six months.

In part the weakness of the big two’s sales is because of the world’s wealthy, Russians especially, drawing in their horns. But in part it is because their business model is looking outdated, leaving them vulnerable to sprightlier rivals.

Although Christie’s clocked up more auction sales than Sotheby’s, $6.5 billion against $6 billion (the rest comes from private sales they broker), the two firms have broadly similar overheads. Each employs between 1,600 and 2,000 people. Between them they hold nearly 750 auctions a year in more than 80 categories—some significantly less profitable than others. Together they run more than 140 offices in 40 countries, and have 22 salerooms.

Under pressure from activist shareholders who want to see a better return on capital, Sotheby’s has made a high-profile (if costly) effort to reduce its head count by 5% over the past few months. Christie’s, too, has been quietly shedding staff for over a year. But neither feels it can afford to cut back too far for fear of weakening itself compared with the other.

Expensive promises
The high cost of protecting this duopoly is most visible in guarantees that the auction houses make to sellers about the price they can expect if they sell their treasures. In deciding where to consign their works, rich collectors play off one auction house against the other to force up the guarantee. Often they also demand a slice of the buyer’s premium (the fee charged to buyers on top of the hammer price) and a reduction in the commission that sellers have to pay, thereby cutting the auctioneer’s margin.

Sotheby’s has had its manicured fingers burned by a generous guarantee it gave to the heirs of its late chairman, Alfred Taubman, on the sale of his collection. Christie’s says it pushed up its offer to the Taubman family to well over $400m. So as not to lose face, Sotheby’s, which had estimated the collection’s worth at $500m, offered a guarantee of nearly $515m. On the items sold by the end of 2015, Sotheby’s reckons, it was $12m out of pocket including its marketing expenses.

On January 27th it auctioned off a batch of the Taubman collection’s Old Masters, reducing its overall loss to $9m, though 17 of the 67 lots on offer, including Ligozzi’s “The Abduction of the Sabine Women” (pictured), did not sell. More than 200 other works will be sold in the spring.

Sotheby’s is not alone in making foolhardy decisions to win or keep business. Last year Christie’s offered a guarantee of about $45m on a silk-screen by Andy Warhol called “Four Marilyns”, from 1962. The offer caused surprise, as the picture had been knocked down at auction, just two years earlier, at $34m. The deal was complicated. The seller was Kemal Has Cingillioglu, a scion of a prominent Turkish banking family who sits on Christie’s European advisory board. He owed the auction house money for a work by Cy Twombly that he had contracted to buy privately.

The market was less than impressed. The Warhol picture, it judged, was being “flipped”—returned for sale too quickly—and the auction estimate of $40m-60m was viewed as over-optimistic. In the event its hammer price was $32m, resulting in a considerable loss for Christie’s.

This is not the only source of pressure on the auction houses. In the past decade the contemporary-art world has ballooned, with new fairs, biennials and exhibition spaces opening everywhere. According to a recent report by Clare McAndrew, a respected art-market analyst, $33.1 billion-worth of art and antiques were sold at auction in 2014, half of all sales. An increasing amount is being traded in undisclosed private deals arranged by brokers.

Information is power
Time was when the big auction houses had a near-monopoly on information about the art market, which gave them an edge over customers as well as potential rivals. But now buyers, sellers and dealers are much better informed, and the mystique of the auction room has faded. Many collectors regard their contemporary art as an alternative asset class, which has prompted the launch of new businesses offering market data, tax advice and analysis of the investment potential of art.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been trying to grab a larger slice of this pie. Earlier this month Sotheby’s paid $85m for Art Agency Partners (AAP), which was set up less than two years ago by a former Christie’s specialist, Amy Cappellazzo, and two other founders. Left out of the deal was a $125m art-investment fund AAP had set up with seven of its clients. (“It was clear we could have raised much, much more,” says one partner, Adam Chinn.)

The fund, now the second-largest in the world, has spent only half of the money it had raised, but has already managed to return an impressive $15m to investors. Such funds, like the burgeoning art-advice business, are a promising area that the big two auction houses have been slow to move into.

The two houses realise there is much that they must do to protect their dominance. They need to consolidate their expansion into growing markets in Asia and elsewhere. They must draw new buyers into the art market by first enticing them to buy watches, wine and other luxuries. They need to improve their online-auction platforms, in the face of rising competition (see article). And they must expand their share of the middle market—lots with a value of up to $2m—where there is no need to offer guarantees or discounts to attract sellers, thus making it more profitable than selling more valuable works. Most important, the auction houses must do more to please buyers, expanding what they call “demand-led curation” by creating more imaginative, well-timed sales, and by collating and digitising the information they hold on sellers, to help buyers find what they want.

If they do not do all this, others will. Phillips, a smaller auction house, may have been founded in 1796 but it has recently showed the ambitions of a startup. Just over 18 months ago its two owners, Leonid Fridlyand and Leonid Strunin, the founders of Mercury Group, a Russian retailer of luxury goods and cars, appointed a former boss of Christie’s, Edward Dolman, to start snapping at the heels of the big two.

Phillips’s elegant new headquarters, with its carefully curated contemporary-art exhibitions, in Berkeley Square in London, mask a lean operation: two offices and a staff of just 225 compared with seven or eight times as many at each of the other two houses. The focus is on getting the new rich hooked on buying, first, watches and then contemporary art; and on finding out what such clients want and providing it.

The strategy is working. From a standing start, Phillips sold $80.3m-worth of watches in 2015. Total auction sales, at $523m (mostly of contemporary art), were 34% higher than in 2014. Mr Dolman expects Phillips to reach $1 billion within three years. Although the bosses of Sotheby’s and Christie’s are telling investors that last year’s weak figures were just a temporary setback, the market is changing fast. The big two need to sharpen up.
Source: The Economist 


Sotheby's Americana Sales

Last week Sotheby's held its annual Americana sales,with three sales, property from the Collection of Irvin & Anita Schorsch, The American Folk Art Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin, and the Important Americana sale.

The three sales totaled $18.9 million with nearly 1400 lots selling.  Rather telling when a post war/contemporary sale with around 50 lots can total in the $100s of millions. The three sales pre sale estimates totals were $19,34 million to $28.75 million. The total of the sales including buyers premiums did not reach the total low estimate of the sales. I dont have any sold by lot or sold by value figures, but I would expect they are not very strong.

The Schorsch sale had pre sale estimates of  $6.7 million to $10.23 million and totaled $10.26 million including buyers premiums.  The sale sold 100% of the lots. The top selling lot was an "Important Burnham-Manning Family Chippendale Carved And Figured Mahogany Bombé Bonnet-Top Chest-On-Chest, Probably Salem, Massachusetts, which sold for $970,000 (estimate $800,000/1 million).

The Levin sale did not fair as well, not even getting close to the low estimate with buyers premiums. The sale totaled $5.1 million aginst pre sale estimates of $8.9 million to $12.8 million. The bright spot of the sale was an "Angel Gabriel weathervane, which sold for $1,330,000 – the top price of the Americana Week auctions in New York (estimate $1.2/1.55 million).

The Important Americana sale also did not appear strong. It sold $3.6 million including buyers premiums against pre sale estimates of $3.7 million to $5.7 million.  "Leading the sale was a Bronze Painted Cast Zinc and Cast Iron American Elk by J.W. Fiske, circa 1892, which sold for $225,000 - more than double its high estimate of $100,000".

Sotheby's reported on the sales
Sotheby’s Americana Week Auctions Total $18.9 Million
- 1,396 Lots Sold over 5 Days -

100% SOLD

The Angel Gabriel Weathervane From The Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin Achieves $1.3 Million
- Highest Price of Americana Week -

NEW YORK, 25 January 2016 – Sotheby’s Americana Week auctions concluded yesterday with the overall total of $18.9 million. The ‘white-glove’ sale of Property from the Collection of Irvin & Anita Schorsch totaled $10.3 million, exceeding its pre-sale high estimate of $10.2 million. A weathervane depicting the Angel Gabriel from The American Folk Art Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin sold for $1.3 million, making it the top price sold at any auction house during the Americana Week auctions. The sale of Important Americana totaled $3.6 million, and realized strong prices across a wide range of American fine and decorative arts.


Bidders competed in five sessions over three days for 1,046 superb examples from the esteemed Schorsch provenance, widely considered to be one of the greatest collections of Americana ever assembled. The ‘white-glove’ auction – 100% sold by lot – provided an encyclopedic view of urniture, ceramics, books, silver, fine art, needlepoint samplers and decorative arts of the period. Leading the sale was a 1770 Important Burnham-Manning Family Chippendale Carved And Figured Mahogany Bombé Bonnet-Top Chest-On-Chest, Probably Salem, Massachusetts, which sold for $970,000 (estimate $800,000/1 million, right).

Other notable prices included Ralph Earl’s pair of portraits of Jared Lane and Apphia Ruggles, which fetched $274,000 – over five times their high estimate of $50,000, a Rare Chippendale Carved Mahogany Easy Chair, Philadelphia, Circa 1755, which sold for $322,000 (estimate 300/500,000), and the Lewis Family William And Mary Inlaid Walnut Tall-Case Clock, Philadelphia, Circa 1730, which more than doubled its
high estimate of $75,000 when it sold for $162,500.


Leading the 23 January auction of American Folk Art from the Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin was a Angel Gabriel weathervane, which
sold for $1,330,000 – the top price of the Americana Week auctions in New York (estimate $1.2/1.55 million, left). Gabriel weathervanes, also
known as "Fame," are considered the most desirable and rare form in the iconography of American weathervanes, and the present example is
exceedingly rare for its three-dimensional form and exquisite patina. Further highlights in the sale included a cigar store figure of Lord
Dundreary by Samuel Anderson Robb, which fetched $322,000 (estimate $200/250,000) and a rare Race Track Tout by Charles Dowler, which sold for $454,000, well above its high estimate of $300,000.

SALE TOTAL: $3,569,439

Sotheby’s auction of Important Americana saw strong prices across all categories of the genre, including silver, carpets, Audubon prints, Chinese export porcelain, furniture and folk art. Leading the sale was a BronzePainted Cast Zinc and Cast Iron American Elk by J.W. Fiske, circa 1892, which sold for $225,000 - more than double its high estimate of $100,000 (right). Bidders battled for a wooden bust of Benjamin Franklin, driving its price to $175,000, over five times its high estimate of $30,000. Further highlights included a painting of a Young Boy in Grey with Flowers by Sturtevant J. Hamblen, which sold for $150,000 (estimate $60/80,000, an 1858 painting of The Schooner Norma by James Bard, which sold for $200,000 (estimate $150/250,000), and An American silver Shell & Thread pattern flatware service by Tiffany & Co., which achieved
$93,750 (estimate $22/28,000). 


ISA Annual Conference Advanced Registration Ends Jan 31

Just a friendly reminder that on Sunday, January 31, 2016 the advanced registration period for ISA's annual conference, Assets 2016, Expanding Horizons ends along with a $75.00 registration discount. The conference will be held at the Hilton Ft Worth, April 15-18.

Click HERE for more information on Assets 2016, Expanding Horizons including the full program,tours, specialty events and to register online.  Do so before the end of the month and save.

ISA reports on the conference
Advance your education and find new opportunities for your appraisal practice. ISA's Assets 2016 educational program will help you gain insight into methodologies for forecasting future market trends, learn strategies for unlocking the private doors of related-industry gatekeepers, advance your connoisseurship, and discover new business strategies for the ever-evolving personal property appraisal profession.