New York Evening auction estimates 39% lower than November 2015
Next week, the highly anticipated autumn season of Post-War & Contemporary sales will take place in New York. Although the first 6 months of the year saw the art market contracting rapidly, auction sales in October shows a market that is reaching an equilibrium, albeit at a lower level than 12 months ago.
During October 2016, 77% of the auction sales came within or above their pre-sale estimates, suggesting that sellers’ and buyers’ expectations are increasingly falling in line.
ArtTactic RawFacts Monthly signalled that October sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips were down 16.9% compared to 12 months ago, however this was an improvement on the approximately 30% lower sales in the first half of 2016.
So what are the predictions for next week? First of all, it is important to note that the Evening sales are significantly smaller than November last year and, based on low estimates, the upcoming Post-War & Contemporary Evening auctions would expect to fetch around $535.2 million. This is 39% lower than the low estimate in November 2015, and also 7.6% below the low estimate for May 2016. This brings us back to levels last seen in May 2012.
Financial guarantees are coming back as 55% of the estimated value is backed by financial guarantees, up from 38% in May 2016
Sotheby’s has been considerably more aggressive with guarantees (in-house and 3rd party) than Christie’s this upcoming season, with 76% of the Post-War and Contemporary Evening sales value (based on the low estimate) carrying financial guarantees versus 36% at Christie’s. Phillips has guarantees on 56% of the value of the Evening sale.
43% of ArtTactic Forecasters believe the sales total will come in above the mid-estimate
Three days before the auction starts the real-time predictions from ArtTactic Forecaster suggests a shift towards more positive sentiment in the art market, with 43% of the forecasters believing the sales will come in above the mid-estimate, compared to 31% of forecasters saying the same for the May 2016 auctions.