Aspire holds triumphant online book sale at 86% sell through

24 May 2018

Johannesburg, May 2018: Aspire Art Auctions, the young, dynamic fine art auction house, recently held its latest online auction, which focused on art books. The sale was a huge success and proved conclusively that South Africa has a healthy market for quality collectable books.

The sale was preceded by oversubscribed live events in Johannesburg and Cape Town at which well-known dealer and collector Warren Siebrits spoke about the collecting process and what to look out for in a rare or collectable art book.

The book sale was remarkably successful, achieving an 86% sell through rate, well above industry averages. Perhaps even more remarkable was the extent of bidding wars focused on individual lots.

The top book lot sold above estimate was Walter Battiss’ South African Paint Pot, circa 1942. Against a high estimate of R3000, the book was subject to competitive bidding, and sold for R21 185, over seven times the high estimate.

The doyen of South African fine art photography, David Goldblatt, was represented on the sale with several collections of his work. The best seller was an early edition copy of In Boksburg, which also fetched R21 185, well above a high estimate of R12 000. However, another Goldblatt collection, also an early edition of a book originally published in 1975, Some Afrikaners photographed, fetched R11 150, more than three times its high estimate of R3 000.

Other books on the sale also performed amazingly well. Collector’s tastes for rare and obscure artist’s book ephemera were confirmed when a rare copy of an early work by well-known artist Willem Boshoff, Kykafrikaans, sold for R7 805 against a high estimate of R1 200.

While the book category comprised the majorty of lots, the top sellers by value were some of the prints by J.H. Pierneef that were on offer. The linocut Doringboom, TVL sold for R35 680, more than double the high estimate, and an etching from 1928, Trees, fetched R31 220, almost double the high estimate.

Ruarc Peffers, Aspire MD, comments, “The success of this online auction demonstrates three things to us: firstly, that when one has the right product and takes it to market in the right way, it will find favour with the buying public – sometimes spectacularly so! Secondly, the support for the sale and the widespread adoption of the online auction platform shows us the growth and development of this sales channel. And, finally, the increasing sophistication and connoisseurship of the South African market. When we find great collections, with rare and unique elements, and present it in the best way, the market response and appetite is electrifying. We are the only fine art auction house in the country to offer a smartphone app, for Apple and Android, for our online sales, and this is growing from strength to strength – it was extensively used in this auction, and we are just warming-up with this forward-looking, much-anticipated platform.”