Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sell through percentage

In leading auction houses what is considered a good percentage of 'lots sold' per sale?
Aaron EdwardsMedia & Marketing Coordinator at Brunk Auctions 
Votes by Marc BodnickYair Livne, and Cody Reid.

There are several variables that factor in to the percentage. I can not speak for Christie's or Sotheby's, but I do work for a reputable auction house in the Southeast US with an international clientele, and we normally average 95% to 92% of lots sold.

One of the major factors to consider when determining this percentage is reserve price. Without a reserve price, several unsold items would likely sell for less than the consignor are willing to let the item go for. Auction houses with higher reserve prices are likely to have more passed lots. Also, if the estimate is initially too high, bidders will be less likely to compete or even bid on that item.

The item as it relates to market interest is also another factor in percentage of lots passed. For instance, if an auction is heavy on low-end Asian antiquities in the current market, more lots are likely to pass than say some of your best works by American Impressionists.

Overall, auction houses will try to sell every item, as it takes a considerable amount of resources to locate, ship, handle, provide condition reports, catalog, photograph, and market items. Passed lots are basically lost money and wasted time.

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