Sotheby’s Russian Art Sales Total $31.9 Million

. December 2, 2009

Sotheby’s London Russian Art Sales Series concluded bringing a total of £19.3/$31.9 million – near the high estimate (£14,882,080-21,246,220) – and established a healthy sell-through-rate of 74% overall.

Highlights of the sales series include:

• ‘Romanov Heirlooms’ Sale realises £7 million, seven-times the high estimate of £900,000. The auction was 100% sold by value and with every lot finding a buyer the sale became the first Russian Art Auction at Sotheby’s to become a ‘White Glove Sale’.

• The top-selling lot of Sotheby’s Russian Art Sales Series was Venice by Alexandra Exter, which sold for £1,049,250 – within estimate – setting a new world auction record for the artist.

• Seven new artist records established (Five in the Russian Art Evening Sale and Two in the Russian Paintings Day Sale – see individual Top Tens).

• Two further action records were achieved: for a Fabergé Cigarette Case and a pair of Fabergé Cufflinks.

• The highest price achieved between the Day Paintings and Day Works of Art Sales was for an 1879 icon of Saint Pelagia and Saint John Klimakos, attributed to Vasily Petrovich Vereschagin (1835-1909), which had originally been created for the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow . It sold for £445,250 against an estimate of £40,000-60,000.

• All four sales establish a combined, healthy sell-through-rate of 74%

Discussing the results of Sotheby’s Russian Art Sales, Jo Vickery, Senior Director and Head of the Russian Art department in London, said: “We are extremely pleased with the results of this Russian Art Sales Series which totalled £19,364,525/$31,903,859, within pre-sale expectations of £14,882,080-21,246,220, and achieved a combined, healthy sell-through-rate of 74%. The unique Romanov Heirlooms Sale offered clients the opportunity to acquire a piece of Russian Imperial history and bidders from across the globe responded accordingly. The unprecedented success of this auction achieved Sotheby’s Russian Art Department the accolade of its first-ever ‘White Glove Sale’.”

“It is evident that with each sales series we are still being presented with new information about this area of market in the current environment and while the series has been challenging in parts, overall we have witnessed a greater level of confidence in the market – seven new artist records were established and two new auction records for Fabergé objects. It is clear that collectors in this field are more selective than ever before and continue to look for extremely fresh pieces by blue chip names from the best periods at conservative estimates.”

Commenting on the Day Sales of Paintings and Works of Art, Vickery continued: “The results achieved for the day sales of paintings, and particularly for the works of art sale which surpassed its high estimate, were extremely encouraging. We were also very heartened by the prices achieved for the 1879 icon of Saint Pelagia and Saint John Klimakos, attributed to Vasily Petrovich Vereschagin (1835-1909) – originally created for the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow – which sold for £445,250, and for the silver-gilt and Niello Tray, which commanded £145,250 – over eight-times the pre-sale high estimate.”

Category: Auction News

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