Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Still Life with Cash Box, Roy Lichtenstein, 1976, sold at Christie's on May 12 for $1,986,500

The numbers are in and the market is down....again. On May 12, Sotheby's sold 39 of 48 lots for a total of $47,033, 500 while Christie's May 13, 2009 sale achieved $93.7 million and sold 49 of 50 lots. Artnet Magazine reported that the total price of the Christie's sale was down considerably from just twelve months ago. In May 2008 the sale price at Christie's for the night was $348 million. In fact, just six months ago, the total sum was $113.6 million. On the upside, the rate of decline during the last eighteen months has slowed and while there were some considerable 'deals', record prices were achieved at the sale. Among the record prices were David Hockney's 1966-67 work entitled Beverly Hills Housewife which sold for $7,922,500 and Roy Lichtenstein's Still Life with Cash Box from 1976 which sold for $1,986,500.
Engraved by Paul Revere in 1768 and handcolored in 1770 by Christian Remick, 9 3/4" X 15 1/2", sold at Northeast Auctions March sale for $469,000
It is not just the large auction houses which have reported high highs and low lows. At Northeast Auctions (Manchester, NH) March 21 & 22 sale the total realized price was $1.786 million. While 1000 of the 1103 lots sold, the prices for most of the lots were down considerably. The sale of a very nice Queen Anne highboy proved that even furniture was not immune. Just nine months ago the very same piece which sold for $90,000 brought $55,575 in this sale. In fact, it was just two rare lots that brought the total up for the night including a rare Paul Revere engraved print of troops landing in Boston as well as an ivory portrait in miniature of George Washington.

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