Sotheby's Loses $12 Million on Taubman Sale, But Wins Top Auction Price For Americana Week

Angel Gabriel weathervane from The American Folk Art Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin sold for $1.3 million.
Angel Gabriel weathervane from The American Folk Art Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin sold for $1.3 million.
(Sotheby's)

Sotheby’s secured an overall total of $18.9 million for its Americana Week auctions ending Sunday. The news came after Friday's announcement that the auction house had an estimated $12 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2015 as a result of the A. Alfred Taubman sale, featuring works from the collection of the former Sotheby's chairman that were given an unprecendented guarantee of $500 million for Taubman's heirs.

"As a result of the guarantee shortfall, no net auction commission revenue will be recognized for the Taubman collection in the fourth quarter of 2015 or in 2016," president and CEO Tad Smith said during a Jan.. 22 conference call with investors. "With no revenue from the Taubman Collection in the fourth quarter, auction commission margin is down versus the prior year fourth quarter. Excluding the Taubman collection sales, auction commission margin for the fourth quarter and full year did improve when compared to the prior year."

Good news came over the snowy weekend from the sale of Property from the Collection of Irvin & Anita Schorsch which totaled $10.3 million, with a 100 percent sell-through rate, taking the collection over its pre-sale high estimate of $10.2 million. Also, a weathervane depicting the Angel Gabriel from The American Folk Art Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin sold for $1.3 million, making it the top price sold at any auction house during the Americana Week auctions, according to Sotheby's.

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