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What should we make of the fact that both Sotheby's and Christie's were able to sell more than 90% of the art in their Contemporary evening sales at a time when the market was supposed to be filled with trepidation and uncertainty? Sotheby's sale of £118m with 93% of the 60 lots sold. The hammer total was 24% above the low estimate or just about in the middle of the estimate range.
About a quarter of the sale was guaranteed in one form or another. Those lots brought in about half of the sale total. Much of the reaction to the sale in the press has been relief couched in the language of confidence.
Even the pros were nervous about these sales as Scott Reyburn discovered when he spoke Europe's leading gallerist:
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