Thursday, February 28, 2008

Despite a Weak dollar and Only 30% of Sales
Attributed to American Collectors,
Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction
Achieved Record Sales Last Night.

LONDON—With three of £10 million-plus lots, Sotheby’s scored its highest-ever contemporary sale in Europe Wednesday evening, tallying £95,030,000 ($189,423,299). The total number surpassed the previous high, set in June 2007 at £72.4 million, and quelled doubts of a market going soft. The final figure was particularly impressive as the pre-sale estimate was £72–105.

Fifty-six of the 70 offered lots found buyers, translating to a 20 percent buy-in rate by lot and just 6 percent unsold by value. Only three of the 14 buy-ins were works by Chinese artists, indicating the catapult rise of that market may have hit its plateau.

Europeans, including those from Russia and the U.K., dominated the sale, accounting for 64 percent of the lots sold. With the dollar registered its lowest-ever value against the surging Euro on the day of the auction, Americans represented only 30 percent of the buyers. The remainder was comprised of Asian buyers and “other”.

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