London’s June London sale week was a bit of a rollercoaster. It began with a shattered record and concluded with a work hammered for $127.
Phillips’ sale, held on Friday (June 30), seemed at first to be picking up the momentum from Christie’s 20/21 evening sale two days earlier. Phillips merged the day and evening sales this June, a departure from its most recent June sales, in 2022 and 2019. The outcome was a much slimmer sale, with far fewer lots offered than in the June day and evening sales combined in those two years.
Then the sale’s star lot, Lucio Fontana’s also the only lot with a seven-digit presale estimate, was pulled out at the last minute. Nearly 30 percent of the works, including those from recent market darlings such as Japanese artist Ayako Rokkaku, hammered at prices below the low estimate, signaling a decline in reserves. A number of names popular in the market went unsold: George Condo, Banksy, Richard Prince, Andy Warhol, and Harold Ancart.
Here’s the breakdown of the sales data:
Total Sales After Fees: £9 million ($11.5 million)
Lots sold (Including Guaranteed Lots): 93
Lots on Offer Before Withdrawals: 116
Lots Withdrawn: 5
Lots Bought In: 18
Sell-through Rate Counting Withdrawals: 80 percent
Sell-through Rate Excluding Withdrawals: 84 percent
Hammer Total: £7 million ($9 million)
Presale Low Estimate Before Withdrawals: £11 million ($14 million)
Hammer Total vs. Presale Low Estimate (Before Withdrawals): – £3.9 million ($5 million)
Total Low Estimate of Withdrawn Lots: £2.5 million ($3 million, about 23 percent of the total presale low estimate before withdrawals)
Total Low Estimate of Guaranteed Lots: £600,000 ($761,661, about five percent of the total presale low estimate before withdrawals)
Lots With House Guarantees: zero
Total Low Estimate of Third-Party Guaranteed Lots: £600,000 ($761,661, about five percent of the total presale low estimate before withdrawals)
Lots with Third-Party Guarantees: two
Top seller: Lucio Fontana, (1966-67) hammered at £450,000 and sold for £571,500 ($721,633) after adding fees. Georg Baselitz’s (2013) also hammered at £450,000 and sold for £571,500 ($721,633) with fees. The Baselitz work was one of two carrying third-party guarantees.
Lasting memory: At least the sale concluded on a high note, ending with the sale of Albert Willem’s 2021 colorful canvas work . It hammered at £180,000, a staggering 18 times the low estimate, and eventually sold for £228,600 ($290,184) after adding fees. The market correction is indeed afoot, but it’s not all doom and gloom.