Alan J. Kanter poster auction

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Postby JohnCox » 12/09/12 04:01 PM

Couldn't find a thread on this, so I'm making one. Today Guernsey's auctioned 58 posters from the collection of Alan J. Kanter. Some beautiful Houdini, Kellar, and Thurston sheets, but I thought the auction estimates were wildly high (if not downright wrong headed).

I reported on the Houdini posters here:
http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2012/12 ... n-nyc.html

Full catalog with sale prices here:
http://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/ ... tion/page1
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/09/12 04:24 PM

There is a thread on it, and there was an ad in the Nov/Dec. issue of Genii.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/09/12 04:27 PM

I just took a look at the sale prices! Yikes! The value of posters has plummeted! I can't believe that a Keller/Thurston "Passing the Mantle" sold for $7,500!

Many people got excellent bargains today!
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Postby JohnCox » 12/09/12 04:55 PM

I really wasn't sure if this was just a bad day or if those estimates were way out of control. Seems to be a bit of both on the Houdini posters. A $40,000 reserve and an estimate of $65,000 - $75,000 on poster that sold just last year for $25,000? Nuts.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/09/12 04:56 PM

Which poster was that?
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Postby JohnCox » 12/09/12 05:02 PM

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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/09/12 05:28 PM

From what I saw online, the opening bid was $20K for the posters that didn't sell.
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Postby JohnCox » 12/09/12 06:11 PM

Kevin Connolly wrote:From what I saw online, the opening bid was $20K for the posters that didn't sell.

I was watching too, but I was a little confused by that. The auction opened with a suggested $40,000 bid on both, but in red below I saw a $20,000 bid price (at least on the Houdini for Pres sheet). I figured that was a bid put in but not accepted because it didn't meet the reserve?

Seemed like all the opening suggested bids got halved before things got started. The Amsterdam poster, which sold for $18,000, opened at $30,000.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/09/12 06:58 PM

I think how it works is that the item will start, if there are no previous mail bids, at half of the low estimate. So an item with an estimate of $10,000-$15,000, would open at $5,000.

What still ticks me off is the 22% commission. Then 15-20% from the seller to kick in. That's a good gig for them.
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Postby JohnCox » 12/09/12 07:19 PM

Got it. Thanks. Wonder what the reserves were.

Yeah, 22% commission... Pretty steep.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/09/12 07:53 PM

There wasn't a reserve on any poster, sort of. Using the equation above, by placing a high estimate on a piece, one could determine the lowest price acceptable for the seller to sell the item.

So here we go:

The poster is estimated at $40,000 - $50,000. The opening bid would be $20,000.

Now there is only one bidder for the item and it is sold for $20K. Deduct the 15% commission for the auction house.

Price: $17,000 to the seller.
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Postby JohnCox » 12/09/12 08:13 PM

Ah, clever...

And to think there is an alternate universe where the rich version of myself just bought that "Houdini for President" poster.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 12/09/12 10:42 PM

LOL! There is an alternative universe in the auction world. Unsold items can be purchased through the auction house many a time if you make an inquiry or read their rules about unsold lots.
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Postby GAMOLO » 12/14/12 01:32 AM

There was confusion by many over the distinctions between LiveAuctioners & the actual auctioneer on site. Listed "starting" bids are posted by LiveAuctioners and they cannot lower them; the auctioneer on premises can.

There were no reserves, however, when it becomes obvious, as it did on Sunday, that the listed "starting" bid (i.e., one half of the lower estimate)was not being achieved, then the auctioneer on premises lowered it. Although confusing to online bidders, these various figures were on the screen, albeit in different boxes (positions). Savvy online bidders recognized this, and many posters were sold at below market value.

Two Houdini posters and the Baldwin did not, however, even achieve the lowered starting figures, and, so were passed by the auctioneer on site. One can make post auction offers however, and frequently Martinka and other online sites will attempt to broker a deal (i.e. reduce their commission, seek to persuade both seller & prospective purchaser to compromise, etc., etc.) It would not surprise me if at least one of the passed [ieces is not sold in this fashion.........happens all the time.
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Postby JohnCox » 12/14/12 12:05 PM

Thanks Gamolo.
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Postby Ken Trombly » 12/28/12 02:49 PM

In discussions with a number of serious collectors who would have otherwise bid in this auction, the sentiment was fairly unnanimous....that they were scared off by the unrealistically high estimates. So, Richard, I do not think that the value of posters has plummeted. I think that this was an aberration and that the auction house totally mishandled Mr. Kanter's sale.

For those planning to attend the Washington Symposium on Magic History in April, we will have a live auction (with no internet component) that will most likely include some desirable magic posters.....as well as books, apparatus and ephemera
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/28/12 05:25 PM

Well, one well-known collector told me that the value of his poster collection dropped by a million bucks after the auction.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/29/12 02:02 AM

I did post a notice on this auction back on December 4 and made a comment on the estimates:

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... ber=278021

I dont need to comment further since most of that has already been done here. Heres my quick analysis of the auction (sorry for the delay, things have been busy):

Total Auction:
56 of 59 Lots sold
$197,975 Total Hammer Price
34% of Low Estimate of $576,600
24% of High Estimate of $815,100
High Lot (Dollar - Tie): #18 - Harry Houdini, Amsterdam Jail Cell, $18,000 (+23% H/E)
High Lot (Dollar - Tie): #18 - Thurston, Eggs Extraordinary, $18,000 (+40% H/E)
High Lot (% over HE): #4 - Carter, Beats the Devil, +108% ($650)

(Lot 4 was the only one to sell over the high estimate. Only eleven lots sold at or above the low estimate.)
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