The Week That Was: Christie’s and Sotheby’s Evening Auctions Shootout | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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The Week That Was: Christie’s and Sotheby’s Evening Auctions Shootout

The Week That Was: Christie’s and Sotheby’s Evening Auctions Shootout
(© Blouin Art Sales Index)

Last week saw four high-profile evening auctions organized by Christie’s and Sotheby’s New York, garnering a total sale of $1.8 Billion. These were:
·         Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sales- Christie’s New York, Nov 13, 2017.
·         Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sales- Sotheby’s New York, Nov 14, 2017.
·         Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale- Christie’s New York Nov 15, 2017.

·         Contemporary Art Evening Auction – Sotheby’s New York, Nov, 16, 2017.
BLOUIN ARTINFO takes this opportunity to present a comparative analysis of the similar themed auctions at both auction houses. The analysis covers the following:
·           Total sales realized and sale volume.
·         Bought-in rates at both auctions.
·         Price estimation accuracy of the auction houses.
·         Big Sales: Relative share of artworks selling for more than $10 Million.
·         Top 10 artworks sold by auction.
·         Artist overlap at both auctions.
·         What about the commission/buyer’s premium?
A Summary

Total Artworks Sold And Total Sales Garnered in Both Auctions.
Christie’s clocked 116 percent more sales than Sotheby’s in both auctions put together. We admit a big portion of the difference is because of “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci.
Bought-ins Rates at Both the Auctions
Both the auction houses had similar bought-ins rates. The only exception was Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art evening auction, which had a slightly higher bought-in rate at 16 percent. Is it the "Salvator Mundi" effect? 
Price Estimation Accuracy of the Auction Houses
During these sales, Christie’s estimates were more accurate and one stood a greater chance of buying an artwork below the low estimates at Sotheby’s.
Big Sales: Relative Share of Artworks Selling For Over $10 Million
Across the auctions, Christie’s had more artworks selling for more than $10 Million.
Top 10 Artworks Sold by Auction - Christie’s Has Taken the Lead
The Top 3 Artworks Sold in Both Auctions Were at Christie’s.

Artist Overlap at Both Auctions/Auction Houses
A Comparison of Average Sales Prices of Artists Sold at Both Auctions/Auction Houses

While the auction themes are similar, we even find that there were between 25% and 35 % artists whose artworks were sold at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Here is a comparison of the average sales prices of these artists.
Contemporary/Post-War Contemporary Art Evening Auctions:
Total number artists was 68 in both auction houses together, and an overlap of 17 artists featured in both. Ten out of 17 artists had a higher average selling prices in Christie’s over Sotheby’s.

Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Auctions:
A total of 53 artists were named in both auction houses's sales, and 17 artists were represented in both. Twelve out of 17 artists had a higher average selling price in Christie’s than at Sotheby’s.

What About The Commission/Buyer’s Premium?

Both the auction houses have similar three-level buyer’s premium commission rates of 25 percent, 20 percent and 12.5 percent, as given below, with the difference in the rate structure in the small band of $3 Million to $4 Million. The net impact of this, for any artwork selling for more than $4 million one ends up paying an additional premium of $75,000 at Christie’s vis-à-vis Sotheby’s. And there were 12 artists whose works sold for more than $4 million apiece in both Christie’s and Sotheby’s.