Issue #177  12/11/2010
Christie's Girault De Prangey Sale Sells Well and Nearly Tops $3 Million

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector and Photo Review

Christie's sale of Important Daguerreotypes by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey on October 7 realized $2,873,375 with a 22% buy-in rate. Four phone bidders, 1779, 1794, 1810, and 1841 took most of the top lots, with a French bidder in the room, 626, taking numerous lower-priced, but good quality lots. The number of buy-ins was higher than at the previous Girault de Prangey sales--a result of a combination of the deterioration in the quality of the material on offer and the more erratic estimates in this sale. Even much of the material in this sale that sold probably shouldn't have, and I wonder how many of the active bidders on the phone really viewed many of these poorer quality lots.

Lots 2 and 3 both went to 1779, which was an English-speaking bidder on the phone with Christie's Stuart Alexander: Girault de Prangey's self-portrait, probably 1841, went for $194,500, more than three times the high estimate; and the beautiful Atget-like "261. Paris. 1841. Etude de plantes" for $242,500, almost double the high estimate and over the bid of New York dealer Hans P. Kraus, Jr. These were the top two lots in the sale. Bidder 1779 was highly active on many other lots in this sale. It makes me wonder if Qatar wasn't back bidding, filling in some gaps.

A different phone bidder (1759) outlasted Boston dealer Robert Klein for lot 4, "15 Rome 1842 T[emple] de la Concorde Ent[rée] Intér[ieure]", at $128,500. This might have gone higher in previous Girault de Prangey sales. And yet another phone bidder (1719) captured lot 7, "28 Rome 1842 Prise de la Colonne Trajane", at $56,250.

Phone bidder 1779 closed the window on lot 8, "82 Fenêtre, clocher, Cornéto, [1842]", at $80,500. Bidder 626 took his most expensive lot (#9), "27 Rome 1842 Jardins, Villa Médici" for $68,500. Collector Bruce Lundberg won lot 11, 35 Environs de Rome vue prise du R[io] del dio Redicolo [1842], for $43,750. Robert Klein was lucky on lot 13 and paid the same price for 61 Athènes Anc[ienne] Cathédrale Côté S[ud] [1842].

Phone bidder 1794 went to $56,250 for lot 22, "132 Constantinople, rue sous le petit champ des morts [probably 1843]". A bidder in the room, 611, took lots 24 and 25, "75 Aphrodisias Entablement et Chap[iteau] [1843]" at $52,500; and "Euromus Temple antique [probably 1843]" at $80,500.

1794 scooped up lot 27, "150 Constantinople 1843 Fontaine pris du T[emple] du Galat" for $80,500. Then 1779 was back for lots 29 and 30, the latter, "230. Zouk. Syrie. 1844. Tombeau" at $134,500 (the third highest price of the sale); and lot 32, "249 Liban 1844 Les Cèdres. Suite" for $50,000.

A new phone, 1810, bought lot 41, "130 Kaire G S Gânem Dét[ail] [1842-1844]" at $98,500. After picking up lots 43, 45 and 46, phone bidder 1779 bid $62,500 for lot 47, "145 Rosette. 1842. Fabriques et Palmiers". And a new phone bidder (1746) took lot 48, "204 Denderah 1844" at $98,500.

1794 paid $60,000 for lot 57, "219 Jérusalem 1844 G[ran]d tombeau Vue de Josaphat", and $122,500 for lot 60, "[Jérusalem--Tombeaux de Zachariah et Bnei Hezir, Vallée Kidron, 1844]", which became a battle of phones in the end.

Then 1810 went on a tear, picking up five of the next six lots, but then ran into 1841 on lot 67. Phone bidder 1841 had waited until the end of the sale, but then was the winning bidder on five straight lots: lot 67, "[Jerusalem, Al Wad, rue dans la vieille ville, 1844]" at $98,500 over 1810's underbid; lot 68, "196 Jérusalem Porta aurea [1844]" at $116,500 and also over bidder 1810; lot 69, "[Jérusalem, fortifications Porta Aurea, 1844]" at $60,000; lot 70, "[Jérusalem, Porta Aurea, 1844]" at $104,500; and, lot 71, "220 Jérusalem 1844 G[ran]de Mosquée prise de la Porte S[ud] M..." at $56,250.

And 1810 took the last two lots of the sale, lot 73 for $25,000 and lot 74, "210 Jérusalem Dét[ail] Porte Egl[ise] du S[aint] Sép[ulcre] [1844]" for $80,500, over the bid of dealer Robert Klein.

Despite the buy-ins (usually on problematic plates), this was a strong sale with all the top lots but one (those hammering for $80,000 and up) selling above their high estimates, and that one sold within the estimates. There was strong and competitive bidding, despite the sale being dominated by six bidders. Bidder 611 captured three lots for $143,000 total; bidder 626, Joseph Delarue, a Paris dealer on a cell phone reportedly to fellow Paris dealer Serge Plantureux, bought nine lots for $171,125; 1794 took five lots for $325,500; 1810 10 lots for $365,250; 1841 five lots for $437,750; and 1779 11 lots for $890,125. That is 43 of the 58 lots sold and $2,332,750--or 81.2% by dollar.

(Copyright ©2010 by The Photograph Collector.)

My thanks to Steve Perloff and The Photograph Collector Newsletter for giving me permission to use this information. The Photograph Collector, which is a wonderful newsletter that I can heartily recommend, is published monthly and is available by subscription for $149.95. You can phone 1-215-891-0214 and charge your subscription or send a check or money order to: The Photograph Collector, 340 East Maple Ave., Suite 200, Langhorne, PA 19047. Or to order The Photograph Collector Newsletter online, go to: http://www.photoreview.org.