This morning the Wall Street Journal published some aggregate numbers on the various houses’s expectations for the next two weeks. You can see that the Taubman collection has reversed the trend of the last three years where Christie’s substantially out-performed Sotheby’s usually aided by aggressive guarantees.
In this cycle, Christie’s still has a healthy $510m in guarantees out against $1bn in expected sales. The bulk of that guarantee money is in Monday night’s Artist Muse sale. By contrast, Sotheby’s has $350m in guarantees on tonight’s Taubman sale. There’s an additional $100m in four other lots in Sotheby’s other Evening sales and, of course, a Taubman day sale. The WSJ puts Sotheby’s expectations a trifle higher than Christie’s but functionally the same.
Phillips has much smaller sales ambitions but they too are aggressively using $42m in guarantees for a lower yielding expectation of $64 to $93m in sales.
For all three houses, the guarantee to sales ration works out to 50%. That’s a lot of risk the auction houses have to assume to maintain sales at this level.
Here’s our chart, created by Karolina Prawdzik, of the guarantees by lot in sale. Taubman is the top with Artist’s Muse slightly higher than Phillips Evening sale:
These are the numbers cut in a different way. You can see that the guarantee risk is more concentrated in the Artists’s Muse sale, mostly because there are two guaranteed lots at $100m and $80m. Phillips has the lowest average guarantee size: