Upon becoming aware of the 'lockdown' measures whereby physical visits to the exhibition and the auction were no longer possible, it was only briefly considered to move the auction or to cancel it at all.
A week later, the first videos for the promotion of the so-called “Stay in” auction were shot and new tools became available to bring those who were interested “closer to the piece”. We installed a 24/7 chat function and the photo studio provided more and better photos that were added to the online catalog or ended up directly in the customer's mailbox. A collaboration with a third sales platform was entered into, a promotional campaign and clear communication took care of the rest.
Below you will find the results of this first successful auction, “live in an empty room”. About 450 online bidders (from Australia over Paris to LA and back) competed against the 'floor' in Antwerp (with the telephone panel and the bidders with absentee bids). 75% of the lots found a new buyer, about the same number as in an “ordinary” auction with audience in the hall. 70% were sold online, up 55% from a classic live auction. 30% were sold over the phone or with an absentee bid. If the pieces are of high quality, soundly described and abundantly “illustrated”, there is little difference in yield with a classic live auction. Whether these auctions will become the norm, that will have to show in the future.
A short survey with hammer prices (excl. buyer's premium 22% room / 28% online).
At the Old Masters, a copy or studio piece of the Entombment of Antoon Van Dijck was sold € 5,000 while one of the eye-catchers, a still life with butterflies and salamanders at thistle by Otto-Marceus van Schrieck (lot 142) proved to be worth double (res.: € 10000). A beautifully preserved panel depicting Venus and Adonis attributed to the two 17th century Antwerp masters Hendrick van Balen and Sebastiaan Vrancx went online to the USA for € 9,500 (lot 131) while an anonymous drawing depicting a Bacchanal (lot 211), with an estimate around € 600/800, pulverized her estimate to be hammered at a stunning € 34000. Another drawing, a sketch for the painting by Pieter Thys of the Our Lady of Dendermonde (lot 213), in turn fetched € 6000. A Pieta to Annibale Carracci (lot 120) fetched € 5,500, the same as a penitent Mary Magdalene, a copper from an anonymous artist of about 1600, thereby increasing her estimate tenfold (lot 122). For an early 17th century copper panel, genre Jan Van Kessel, a buyer went up to € 3800 while a bucolic scene from the area of Bartholomeus Breenbergh (lot 137) sold for € 4000.
Sebastiaan Vrancx & Hendrik Van Baelen, detail, res.: € 9500
Otto-Marceus Van Schrieck, detail, res.: € 10000
Anoniem, detail, res.: € 34000
In addition to 14th century Maasland work, collectors of religious sculptures also found a batch of 16th century saint figures in this catalog next to 17th century corpus Christi figures, etc. mainly from the second part of the Koldeweij collection from Helvoirt (Holland). A retable fragment with a coronation of a bishop (lot 41) sold at € 5000, another depicting the Coronation of Thorns (lot 44) at € 4000. A John the Evangelist (lot 89) and a Northern Italian Christ (lot 116) each left at € 4500 where a beautiful 14th century iron document box (lot 6) changed ownership for € 4200.
An Antwerp 'cantor' (lot 108) also ended up nicely above the highest estimate and was hammered € 12500. The lover of the romantic genre was also served with a choice between works by Eugène Verboeckhoven and Alexander Daiwaille (lot 266, € 3600) or Louis Edmond Pomey (lot 313, € 8,500). “La noce troublée” by the Swiss Frits Zuber-Bühler (lot 316) got € 3000 and “Tea hour” from Joseph Lies (lot 312) € 4500.
A dazzling three-day sale with a nice return for charity, the Antwerp based organisation Filet Divers.