This analysis of the November 2018 Impressionist and Modern sales in New York is available to AMMpro subscribers. Monthly subscriptions begin with the first month free. Feel free to subscribe and cancel before you are billed.
The November Impressionist and Modern Evening sales were 19.4% lower this season than a year ago. The sell-through rates were down by 10% and the hammer ratio (the measure of hammer performance against low estimates) was also substantially lower falling from 1.17 to .89 which shows the willingness of sellers to compromise and the need to accept more realistic estimates for classic art.
The average price for an evening sale lot sold in November fell 12.5% year over year. Last year it was $5.4m; this year the average lot value was $4.77m for the evening sale. Lots were fairly evenly distributed with almost half the lots failing to find buyers or selling at prices below the low estimates. Another way to look at that breakdown is to say that 52% of lots sold within or above estimates.
Finally, evidence of the top end of the market losing steam comes in the portion of the sale accounted for by the top ten lots. Last year, nearly half of the value generated in the evening sales, 47.5%, came from the top ten lots. This year, that proportion fell to 39.5%. A falling share for the top ten lots is not necessarily a bad signal for the market.
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