Christie’s has closed a week of its annual Classics offerings which brought in a total of $13.4 million across seven sales. This season’s result come in far lower than the $59.9 million achieved for nine sales making up the New York classic week last October, and the $75.9 million grossed in May 2019. Much of the loss came from the rescheduling of three key sales—the Exceptional sale, Old Masters Part I auction and the Wrightsman collection sale. Because of the unusual auction calendar, key performance indicators for the market will have to wait until the Fall sale season to be measured in a year-over-year comparison.
The highest selling lot from the collection sale of James and Marilyn Alsdorf was a Roman marble bust of a goddess dated circa 1st-2nd Century A.D. standing at 18 3/4 inches high; it fetched $300,000, against an estimate of $120,000-180,000. The entire Alsdorf collection made $2.7 million. A second Roman marble bust from the same era sold for $250,000, and another featuring Empress Crispina as Omphale,sold for $237,500, far surpassing its pre-sale estimate of $70,000-90,000. An Egyptian mummy portrait of a woman from the first to second century A.D. achieved $225,000, meeting its low estimate, but failing to exceed the high estimate of $300,000. A headless standing Roman marble statue of Venus standing at 29 inches high went for $150,000, landing solidly within its estimate of $120,00-180,000. The work was last sold at auction in 1973 from the estate of Sydney J. Lamon at Christies.
In the Antiquities sale which brought in a total of $2 million, a Greek Bronze Corinthian Helmet, from 525-475 B.C. found a buyer for $855,000, more than doubling its low estimate of $300,000 and making it the highest selling lot of the week. An Attic Black-Figured neck-amphora attributed to the Bareiss Painter from the same era sold for $137,500, besting its estimate of $40,000-60,000.
The leading lot sold from the section edition of the G. Sangiorgi Collection sale of ancient gems was a Roman Carnelian Ringstone with a Portrait of The Empress Sabina (circa 130 A.D.), which achieved $250,000; it sold for more than 16 times its high estimate of $15,000. Additional top lots include a Roman gold and carnelian ring featuring the profile of Apollo dated circa 1st Century B.C., which sold for $106,250, more than tens times the low end of its pre-sale value between $10,000-18,000. The first segment of the Sangiori ancient jewels sale brought in a high total of $10.6 million in October 2019, with a 100% sell-through rate.
The week’s European art sale grossed a total of $1.2 million with a leading lot by Henryk Siemiradzki and studio, that made $375,000, going for more than three times its low estimate of $10,000. In the first books and manuscripts sale, which fetched a total of $648,125, a first edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species dated 1859 sold for $200,000, doubling its low estimate of $100,000. Leading the $2.7 million Americana and literature sale, an original Led Zeppelin cover from the collection of George Hardie brought in a staggering $325,000, making more than ten times its high expectation of $30,000.