This look at the auction guarantees for the November 2017 sales in New York is available to AMMpro subscribers. The first month is free to new subscribers. Feel free to join and cancel before the first month’s billing.
According to Sotheby’s 10-Q filing with the SEC, the firm had $246.8m in guarantees out as of November 2, 2017. That figure was offset by $109.4m in irrevocable bids. Those numbers will change throughout the week as the sales approach and the auction houses and consignors make decisions about how much risk they’re willing to take but Sotheby’s gross numbers don’t give us too much insight into the competitive landscape.
So let’s look a little closer at the sales on a lot-by-lot basis:
Currently Christie’s has 38 lots guaranteed out of 126 lots offered in their Evening sales. That’s 30% of the lots overall or 43% of the Post-War and Contemporary lots and 19% of the Impressionist and Modern lots.
What makes the lower number even more noteworthy is the presence of several estates at Christie’s where the advisors to the estates have elected not to take guarantees but surely opted for better terms to place the consignment. Last season, Christie’s had the Spiegel collection which helped push the number of guaranteed lots to 46.
According to Phillips catalogue, 15 out of the 44 Evening sale lots have guarantees totaling $44.9m with $40.5m (based upon the low estimates) offset with third-party deals. That gives Phillips a 34% guarantee ratio by lot.
Of the three houses, Sotheby’s has the heaviest use of guarantees. The Impressionist and Modern Evening sale has 23 guaranteed lots out of 67 for a 55% ration. That represents $99m in risk offset by $18m in irrevocable bids. For the Contemporary Evening sale, the ration is a more even 50% with 37 of 74 lots covered for a total of $125.3m with only $34m in irrevocable bids offsetting the exposure.