By the Numbers: Phillips 20th-Century and Contemporary Evening Auction, May 2023


On May 17, Phillips hosted its 20th-Century and Contemporary Art evening auction, which offered the paddle-toting set an aperitif of sorts before Christie’s megawatt sale of Gerald Fineberg’s collection of Modern and postwar giants. The evening was marked by two intrepid bidders who made off with a handful of the evening’s most sought-after works—and also by the sale’s modest hammer total, which came in below the estimate. Below, the story by the numbers… 

Phillips 20th-Century and Contemporary Evening Auction

  • Total Sales After Fees: $70 million
  • Lots Sold (Including Guaranteed Lots): 33
  • Lots on Offer Before Withdrawals: 41
  • Lots Withdrawn Presale: 4
  • Lots Bought In: 4
  • Sell-through Rate Counting Withdrawals: 80.5%
  • Sell-through Rate Excluding Withdrawals: 89%
  • Hammer Total: $58 million
  • Presale Low Estimate Before Withdrawals: $60 million
  • Hammer Total vs. Presale Low Estimate: -$2 million
  • Total Low Estimate of Withdrawn Lots:  $2.6 million
  • Total Low Estimate of Guaranteed Lots: $39.3 million (65.5% percent of total presale low estimate)
  • Lots With House Guarantees: 2
  • Total Low Estimate of Third-Party Guaranteed Lots: $38 million (63.3% of total presale estimate)
  • Lots With Third-Party Guarantees: 15
  • Top Seller: Banksy’s Banksquiat. Boy and Dog in Stop and Search (2018), hammered at $7.1 million (or $9.7 million after fees)


  • Quote of the Night: “This approach is something that is distinctly Phillips’s own, and we are grateful for the hard work of our international team in building an auction that so brilliantly captures the breadth of the category,” wrote Jean-Paul Engelen and Robert Manley in a joint statement about how 80% of the lots that came to sale that night were appearing at auction for the first time.


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