A Perfect Swan Dive

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
User avatar
MaxNY
Posts: 1351
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Jeff McBride
Location: Warwick, New York
Contact:

A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby MaxNY » October 27th, 2005, 9:13 pm

A brief report regarding what I witnessed. I arrived about three lots late, took a seat in the second row next to a guy whose breath smelled like a bag of wet pennies. I realized an hour later when I came to, that it was so bad, we were the only two sitting in that row.(Note to self, bid via phone next year, and leave the dusty old book shelf breath behind).
---I witnessed about a third of the lots, and then had to return to work, did the rest from the phone. Swan does an exceptional job, I really like the "son". He is entertaining, precise, and pulls good money. I enjoy the entertainment,but must confess, I did not belong in that room...very few of us did. Swan was at fault for underestimating almost every item by half of it's seen value. (Is this a new trend?) The one piece I had my eye on was a stock Litho, open tears,dirty, poor mount, no name...I thought I might be able to land it for about $300. I believe it pulled near, or over $2000. The Davenport pic was passed onto a new owner for a cool $10,000!
---We were graced by Royality. Corporal Richard Jay, Sir David of Blaine, His Royal Klaushness, and Peter Desperately Seeking Some Help Mahoney? were bidding from the side. I wonder if David and Peter ever shared notes on Madonna?
---That's about all I can report, and Oh Yeah, if the guy next to you ever offers you a Listerine Pocket Pack...pull out a sheet, and kindly thank the young man...

User avatar
Kevin Connolly
Posts: 2437
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby Kevin Connolly » October 27th, 2005, 9:40 pm

I would surmise that the magic market and the economy are still strong. Most items brought good numbers, with some bargains here and there. Even in the Houdini field, there were nice buys.

I've been buying/selling at Swanns for about 20 years and they usually are pretty good with their estimates. No way can they figure out ahead of time two guys knocking heads over the same item, a foreign government buying or the ever dangerous spite bid. Auctions are a crap shoot.
Please visit my website.
http://houdinihimself.com/
I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.

User avatar
magicam
Posts: 871
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 8:40 pm

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby magicam » October 28th, 2005, 12:45 am

Every auction has its surprises and this one was no different. For example, all three apparently unique Houdini posters were sold for less than their low estimate. Didnt surprise me with the two BFU Master Mystery posters, but even though the French Terror Island poster wasnt all that attractive, I thought it would fetch more. Shows what I know....

Max, if its a stock litho, it almost always doesnt have a name printed on it! :) What poster were you thinking of? No stock poster sold for nearly $2K (unless you add the premium to the one that was hammered at $1,600), and only one stock poster sold for more than $2K (courtesy of yours truly, but hey, Im patriotic...). The hammer price on the rest sold from between $300 and $850, with a large majority selling for $550 or less.

As for the fact that few in the room belonged there, I gather that means that Max thought the prices were too high, or not affordable. Fair enough. For most of us who work, $1,000 is not chump change by any means, but that said, its not going to put very many of us in the poorhouse either. More than 70% of the lots sold for less than $1,000, and given the very high overall quality of the goods in this auction when compared to past magic auctions at Swann, I think this auction represented a very good opportunity for collectors to add distinctive material to their collections. At least thats the way I saw it, and I put my money down because of it. Im a book collector almost exclusively, and of the 8 lots I won, only one lot consisted of books. The rest were posters and broadsides. Think of it this way, Max: here was a chance to buy a choice (and sometimes genuinely rare, not dealer rare) piece of magic memorabilia something very rarely ever offered for sale at auction for less than $1,000. When it came to genuinely rare or scarce items, I though most hammer prices were far closer to reasonable than unreasonable. I dont recall what Caveney and Daily offered in the David Price leftovers (nice leftovers at that) they auctioned off several years ago, but I think the last time before that anyone had a decent selection of 18th century conjuring handbills/broadsides to pick from at a magic auction was a quarter of a century ago when Findlays material was auctioned in London at Sothebys. Nearly 25 years is a long time to wait, and it could be another quarter century before stuff of this caliber is offered in one auction again.

Just my two cents...

Clay

User avatar
magicam
Posts: 871
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 8:40 pm

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby magicam » October 28th, 2005, 12:51 pm

Prices realized are now up on Swann's website.

User avatar
Pete Biro
Posts: 7125
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollyweird
Contact:

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby Pete Biro » October 28th, 2005, 7:31 pm

Do you have a link?
Stay tooned.

rich aviles
Posts: 31
Joined: March 17th, 2008, 9:03 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Contact:

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby rich aviles » October 28th, 2005, 8:10 pm

Cat Herder at TRCKY.com.

User avatar
Pete Biro
Posts: 7125
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollyweird
Contact:

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby Pete Biro » October 28th, 2005, 10:10 pm

Thanks... :eek:
Stay tooned.

User avatar
magicam
Posts: 871
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 8:40 pm

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby magicam » October 28th, 2005, 10:40 pm

Do you think prices were too high, Pete?

User avatar
Pete Biro
Posts: 7125
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollyweird
Contact:

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby Pete Biro » October 29th, 2005, 12:03 am

I have no idea... I see lot numbers and prices but don't know what the items are.

Prices are only too high if NOBODY buys anything.
Stay tooned.

Dick Koornwinder
Posts: 154
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby Dick Koornwinder » October 29th, 2005, 4:47 am


User avatar
MaxNY
Posts: 1351
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Jeff McBride
Location: Warwick, New York
Contact:

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby MaxNY » October 29th, 2005, 6:59 am

I'm not a serious collector, I found the offerings rare, and in nice condition. I was hoping that people's funds were going to be dwindled later in the auction, that wasn't the case. I also thought that Swan was consistently under, in almost all suggested values.

User avatar
magicam
Posts: 871
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 8:40 pm

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby magicam » October 29th, 2005, 10:46 am

Pete wrote
Prices are only too high if NOBODY buys anything.
Not a bad way of putting it! With that standard, one could argue that the prices were the most reasonable of recent Swann magic auctions, as very very few lots (less than a half dozen out of 350 lots) were "passed" for lack of interest. It boggles my mind that nobody wanted to buy an original John Henry Anderson broadside for $200, for example.

Max is correct about Swann's low estimates, but Kevin already pointed out the vagaries of estimating. I think the problem Swann faced was the lack of pricing precedent for these items. Most of this stuff has not been offered for sale in a long time.

In cases where there was pricing precedent, Swann was fairly on the mark. For example, they estimated Okito's Quality Magic at $400-$600, and it sold for $550. Swann has auctioned several copies of this title in the past few years.

Clay

User avatar
Pete Biro
Posts: 7125
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollyweird
Contact:

Re: A Perfect Swan Dive

Postby Pete Biro » October 29th, 2005, 11:05 am

Wow... I may have a copy. Any takers?
Stay tooned.


Return to “Buzz”