Posted by Yon Bard on June 15, 1999 at 11:56:18:
In Reply to: Re: Thompson Sale as a Price Precedent posted by Steve Price on June 15, 1999 at 08:21:27:
: Dear Folks,
: Whether the prices realized at the Thompson sale were outrageous or just somewhat high depends on your definition of "outrageous". I think most people would agree that Sotheby's estimates were pretty much what they would have been if the pieces did not have the Thompson provenance. Here are some statistics, you can decide how inflated the selling prices were:
: 1. Typically, Sotheby's sales have about 40% of the pieces either unsold or sold below the low estimate. Of the 81 Thompson pieces, 1 was unsold and 1 sold below the low estimate. Of the other 82 collectible pieces offered at the same sale, 41 were unsold or sold below the low estimate.
: 2. Sotheby's usually has about 20% of the pieces sell for more than the high estimate. Of the 81 Thompson pieces, 51 (63%) sold for more than the high estimate. Of the other 82 collectibles at the same sale, 16 (20%) sold for more than the high estimate.
: Thus, except for the 81 items from Jon Thompson's collection the sale went more or less according to custom.
: I don't think a dealer can logically justify high prices from the Thompson collection selling prices, although some might try to do so. It is clear that the prices were applicable only to pieces with the Thompson provenance (or, perhaps, also to other comparable provenances) and not to the market in general.
: Steve Price
Steve, your statistics are correct, but your conclusions don't necessarily follow. The Thompson pieces were of generally higher quality than the average Sotheby's pieces (at least their Turkomans) and you'd have to compare Thompson's performance to that of other pieces of comparable quality. Many single-owner sales in recent years have proven that provenance by itself cannot sell rugs: look at the failures of the Cassin, Loges, and Alexander sales, to mention but a few. Of course, there were others that did unreasonably (perhaps) well, e.g., Bernheimer. Since the Thompson prices did not, as a whole, soar way above the estimates, they should not be thought of as excessively (say, more than 30%) high.
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