Auction Analysis: Old Master Auctions London – December 2016

  • Analyst: Megan Corcoran
  • Pages: 7
  • Access: Analyst
The Old Master Paintings Evening sales in London this December

These Old Master sales raised a total of £22,234,000 (excluding buyer’s premium). These results were against a total pre-sale estimate of £17,550,000 to £26,110,000. The total between Sotheby’s and Christie’s was 9.7% lower than in December 2015 and 62.2% lower than December 2014.

Sotheby’s kicked off the Old Master week in London with their 40 lot strong Old Masters Evening Sale on the 7th of December. The sale achieved £12.16 million. Thereby exceeding the pre-sale estimate of £7.99 million to £11.85 million. The results were 37% below their sale in December 2015.

This was followed by Christie’s Evening Sale, which achieved a total of £10.07 million, just within the low end of the pre-sale estimate range of £9.56 million to £14.26 million. Christie’s result was nearly double its result at this time in 2015 at £5.33 million.

However, Christie’s market share ended up being 45.3% (up from 21.6% in December 2015). This was against 54.7% for Sotheby’s (down from 78.4% in December 2015).

Lots selling for more than £1 million accounted for 42% of the total sales value. No lots selling for over £5 million. (In December 2015, lots selling above £1 million accounted for 62% of lots while lots above £5 million accounted for 41%.)

The top 10 lots raised £10.57 million and accounted for 47.5% of total sales value (down from 71% in December 2015). Sotheby’s achieved the top price of £2.15 million for Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s Return From The Kermesse (Estimated to sell for £2-3 million). The second highest lot to sell was Titian’s Portrait of Two Boys, which sold for £1.75 million against a pre-sale estimate of £1-1.5 million.

Report Content:
Comparative Performance (Christie’s and Sotheby’s).
Total sales vs estimate (2010 – 2016).
Average prices 2010 – 2016.
ArtTactic Confidence Indicators.
Auction Flow Analysis (visual representation of the auction rhythm)


Christie’s gains market share as London’s Old Masters evening sales drop 9.7% from last year.