Monday, June 28, 2010

By the numbers

In the opaque world of resales, or primary sales for that matter, who knows how value is placed on this work or that. Size matters but the storms of fashion and rarity also sweep through pushing prices up and down. There is a brief glimpse of transparency in the latest Webb’s auction catalogue. An old regular is up on the block again: the 42-year-old Barry Lett Multiple Series. These silk screened prints by the name male artists of the day are all unsigned and from a seemingly endless edition so the price estimates give an interesting indication of the auction house’s ranking of the artists involved. Based on Webb’s low estimates in descending order:
  1. Colin McCahon $2,500
  2. Don Binney $2,000
  3. Ralph Hotere $2,000
  4. Gordon Walters $1,500
  5. Milan Mrkusich $1,000
  6. Pat Hanly $800
  7. Toss Woollaston $500
  8. Robert Ellis $400
  9. Michael Smither $400
  10. Ross Ritchie $300
  11. Mervyn Williams $150