This analysis of the New York Impressionist and Modern art sales in November of 2017 is available to AMMpro subscribers. Monthly subscriptions begin with the first month free. Feel free to subscribe and cancel before you are billed.
The New York Impressionist and Modern art sales showed a level of interest and engagement that have been missing for a number of years. This was, no doubt, the product of having a number of estates on offer. The final sales numbers reflect a brief resurgence of the Impressionist and Modern market. For the first time in a number of years, the evening sales totals for the Imp-Mod category edged out the Contemporary art evening sales totals. Both the Contemporary sales and the Impressionist and Modern evening sales showed an impressive 91% sell-through rate reflecting the heavy sales management from all three auction houses.
Comparing Contemporary Evening sales to Imp-Mod Evening sales even further, we can see that the Imp-Mod sales had a higher hammer ratio than the Contemporary market. Hammer ratio reflects the percentage of the aggregate low estimate that the aggregate hammer prices achieved. For the Contemporary Evening sales, the hammer ratio was 1.00, meaning the hammer total was approximately the same as the aggregate low estimate. Since even in these highly managed sales 9% of the lots drop out, the Contemporary Evening sale hammer ratio of 1.00 shows that estimates in the Contemporary market have reached a very high level.
For the Impressionist and Modern market, the Evening sale hammer ratio is 1.17. That means the hammer prices were 17% above the aggregate low estimates. In the current, "toppy" markets, the Impressionist and Modern auctions seem to offer some sense of a relative opportunity for buyers. Though that may be pushing the meaning of these numbers a bit too far.
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