Results: Safra Sale of Fine and Dec Arts at Sotheby's NY

Last week Sotheby's held a 4 day sale from the collection of Edward and Lily Safra. Billionaire banker Edward Safra sold his banks for $10 billion, but soon passed away.  His wife, Lily was identified as the buyer of the $105 Giacomeeti Walking Man in Feb of 2010.

In 2005 the Safra collection also sold property at auction, raising  nearly $45 million.  Last weeks Sotheby's sale was expected to total around $40 million, and when completed the various sales totaled $45.9 million including buyers premium.

The sale offered 841 lots with 535 selling for a fair sell through rate of 63.9%.  It only sold 76.6 by value due to the large number of buy ins. The top selling lot was a Louis XVI-era ormolu-mounted Japanese lacquer commode with secretaire that sold for $6.9 million (including buyers premium) against a pre sale estimate of $5 - $7 million.  A second commode, which was the second highest itme of the sale sold for $3.4 million against a pre sale estimate of $3 - $5 million.

Sotheby's seemed pleased with the sales results, and what sold appears to have sold very well as the sale topped its pre sale expectations, even with over 35% of the lots failing to sell.

Bloomberg reported on the sale.

A delicate, elongated ivory cup made in South Germany in the first half of the 17th century surged past its top estimate of $150,000 to fetch $614,500. The prices include buyer’s commission; the estimates do not.

A pair of Victorian gilt-bronze tables by Holland & Sons, which belonged to Prince of Wales Albert Edward, the future King Edward VI, sold for $1.1 million, seven times above the low estimate of $150,000.

A group of 12 neoclassical bronze busts, including Roman emperors Caligula, Julius Caesar and Augustus, brought $398,500, almost five times its top estimate of $80,000.

Buyers also competed for colorful 18th century bird figures made of porcelain. Magpies and cockatoos flew past their estimates. A pair of golden orioles fetched $314,500, more than three times its top estimate of $100,000. A duo of green parakeets went for $386,500 against the presale estimate of $120,000 to $180,000.

Big-ticket paintings were less successful. A canvas by James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot, “Sur la Tamise (Return from Henley),” depicting an attractive woman stepping off a boat, failed to sell. It was estimated to bring $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

Another large painting by the 19th-century Frenchman, “The Princesse de Broglie,” with a $500,000 to $700,000 estimate, also went unsold.

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