The Price of a Dollar and the Return of the Collector’s Market

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in On Balancethe ARTnews newsletter about the art market and beyond. Sign up here to receive it every Wednesday.

Before the Blade helicopters disembark Friday for a Memorial Day of rosé and white linen Out East, this week provides time for reflection now that the marquee New York auction sales are over. These few weeks before Art Basel—when the art world decamps for Switzerland for what is widely considered the world’s most important fair for modern and contemporary art—are typically a time for considering how the market is doing. And, while top collectors (and dealers) head to the evening sales to make their big purchases, the day sales are a far better instrument for measuring the market’s current temperature and spotting upcoming squalls.

At Christie’s, the postwar and contemporary day sales had 296 lots—almost 30 more than this past November’s sales—with an aggregate estimated total between $66.5 million and $99.8 million. The final hammer price for the collected works was $59.7 million, just below estimate. With premiums, that climbs to $77.7 million, a figure comfortably in the estimated range. Add in a healthy sell-through rate of 84 percent, a few ticks lower... shares this Content with License.

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The Price of a Dollar and the Return of the Collector’s Market