Buy-in rates at larger auction houses pre-September 2008 were typically 10 – 20% by lot. They subsequently rose to 40 – 60%. Swann’s 2009 African American sale experienced 34% of their lots, not having met their reserves.
Charles White’s cover drawing Move It On Up a Little Higher sold for $228,000, which was between the estimated range of $200,000 to $250,000.
Hale Woodruff’s Cinque Exhorts his Captives, a large canvas 40″ X 48″ relates to one of his mural subjects created in 1939. Estimated at $75,000 – $100,000, it soared to $156,000 (including the buyer’s premium).
UTube offers two discussions by Nigel Freeman of the African American Art available in each of Swann’s two earlier auctions. Nigel carefully explained each artist’s unique contribution. This kind of audio/ visual introduction to an auction’s highlights is educational and offers another dimension to the process of selecting what you want to consider owning. Type “Swann African American Fine Art” into the UTube box to arrive at Mr. Freeman’s presentations.
If you are convinced auctions are for high rollers only, keep in mind 10 lots in this sale sold for less than $1,000 including the buyer’s premium of 20%.
Also, a few lots that did not initially sell at the auction were subsequently purchased after the sale. Don’t be too shy to contact any auction house immediately after learning that your favorite item did not sell. Come to an agreement with the specialist after the scheduled auction.
Corinne Cain of www.SavvyCollector.com