Auction Analysis: Old Master Paintings Evening Auctions – December 2018

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London’s Evening Sales of Old Master Paintings pass the test, as sales are up 56% from December 2017

The Old Masters market is closing out 2018 on a good note, though with not nearly as much buzz as it had earlier in the year. Both Master Week at Sotheby’s and Classic Week at Christie’s brought us a total of three sales and another preview with Victoria Beckham, though sadly, there were no more performances from Beyoncé to boost enthusiasm. Of the 78 lots on offer, there was a total of 60 lots sold between the two main evening sales, raising a total of £42,867,000 (excluding buyer’s premium), within the presale estimate of £36.14 million to  £53.39 million. The total sales were up 56.2% from December 2017, but 0.2% lower than July 2018, however this might be expected due to the usual difference in number of lots on offer, with December sales historically being much smaller than in July.

In addition to its usual multi-owner evening sale, Christie’s held a single collector sale in the hour before, which sold 25 of 39 lots on offer, raising £18.09 million (excluding buyer’s premium), below the presale estimate of £23,155,000 to £35,315,000.  Including the sales from Christie’s additional auction, the week pulled in a total of £60,955,000, less than a percentage point below July 2018 and up 56% from December 2017.

About this report:

This report presents an in-depth comparative analysis of the Old Master Paintings evening sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London in December 2018. The analysis also provides analytical tools looking at annual trends between 2010 and 2018.

What is new in this report?

Based on feedback from our readers we have added a new section, which provides a detailed list of all the lots in the auction with its sales (hammer) prices. The list also includes information on winning buyers and paddle numbers. We have further expanded the individual auction house pages in the report as well as the overview Auction Analysis.

Who is it for?

This report is popular among dealers, auction houses and collectors, who want to get an in-depth understanding of auction trends in the Old Master Paintings auction market and follow the performance of the two top auction houses this year.


Analytical tools:
Comparable Performance: Old Master auction sales performance comparison between Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London including: Total sales vs Estimates, Average Prices and auction indicators.
Auction Lot Details: Details on the full auction including:  hammer prices, estimates, bought-in lots and winning bids (paddle numbers and people).
Auction Overview: Performance by value and numbers for each auction house.
Top Prices: Ranking by the highest prices achieved and by top price-to-estimate performance.

London’s Evening Sales of Old Master Paintings pass the test, as sales are up 56% from December 2017