The Secrets of Christies Auction Results-Astounding Dürer Art Prices

Text copyright © Feb 4, 2013 Dr. Elizabeth A. Garner, All Rights Reserved

Since I had previously brought to your attention the fact that one of the largest Durer auctions was occurring at Christies on Jan 29, 2013, I thought I would publish some of the results, for some of the prices really blew me away.

This auction realized over $6 million in sales.  Not all of the prints sold .  Here are a few highlights of some of the surprises:

                                     BUY THE BOOK!  CRIMES IN THE ART: THE SECRET CIPHER OF ALBRECHT DÜRER

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      The ill-assorted Couple (B. 93; M., Holl. 77; S.M.S. 3)

This is a relatively rare image

The ill-assorted Couple (B. 93; M., Holl. 77; S.M.S. 3)

Price Realized

    $50,000

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium
Estimate $30,000 – $50,00
Lot Description

Albrecht Dürer
The ill-assorted Couple
(B. 93; M., Holl. 77; S.M.S. 3)
engraving, circa 1495, without watermark, a fine, dark Meder I a-b impression, printing with touches of burr and with wiping marks in the sky and elsewhere, with thread margins, trimmed to or on the platemark in places, the tip of the lower right corner made up, generally in good condition
P. 5 13/16 x 5 3/8 in. (148 x 137 mm.)
S. 5 7/8 x 5 3/8 in. (149 x 137 mm.)

     

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, from: The Apocalypse (B. 64; M., Holl. 167; S.M.S. 115)

NOT EVEN A WORMHOLE DETERRED THIS BUYER!

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, from: The Apocalypse (B. 64; M., Holl. 167; S.M.S. 115)

Price Realized

    $290,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium.
Estimate
    $120,000 – $180,000

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, from: The Apocalypse
(B. 64; M., Holl. 167; S.M.S. 115)
woodcut, circa 1497-98, watermark Imperial Orb (M. 53), a brilliant Meder b proof impression before the German and Latin text editions of 1498, printing with great contrasts and clarity, much relief showing verso, with 10-27 mm. margins, with the usual horizontal drying crease mostly visible verso, a small wormhole in the lower cloud at right, otherwise in excellent condition
B. 15¼ x 11 1/16 in. (388 x 280 mm.)
S. 16 7/8 x 12 in. (428 x 305 mm.)

                                             The Bathhouse (B. 128; M., Holl. 266; S.M.S. 107)

Apparently someone has been reading my book and this website!  Paper splits didn’t even matter.

The Bathhouse (B. 128; M., Holl. 266; S.M.S. 107)

Price Realized

    $182,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium
Estimate
    $100,000 – $150,000

The Bathhouse
(B. 128; M., Holl. 266; S.M.S. 107)
woodcut, circa 1496-97, watermark Imperial Orb (M. 53), a very fine, rare lifetime impression, Meder b, with small margins, a short repaired paper split at centre right into the neck of the drinking man, with some associated pale staining, generally in very good condition
B. 15 3/8 x 11 1/16 in. (390 x 282 mm.)
S. 15½ x 11¼ in. (393 x 286 mm.)

                                             Four naked Women (B. 75; M., Holl. 69; S.M.S. 17)

And I haven’t even started writing about the secrets in this print

Four naked Women (B. 75; M., Holl. 69; S.M.S. 17) $80,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.
Estimate
    $30,000 – $50,000

Four naked Women
(B. 75; M., Holl. 69; S.M.S. 17)
engraving, 1497, without watermark, a fine, early impression, probably Meder a, printing with burr and tone in the sphere and elsewhere, trimmed inside the platemark but retaining a fillet of blank paper in places outside the borderline, a few tiny nicks at the sheet edges, otherwise in good condition
S. 7 3/8 x 5¼ in. (187 x 133 mm.)

                                             The Dream of the Doctor (B. 76; M., Holl. 70; S.M.S. 18)

But I did write about the meaning of this print, which used to be a rather obscure ignored print at auction. No longer.  This may be a world record now.  People are listening

The Dream of the Doctor (B. 76; M., Holl. 70; S.M.S. 18)

Price Realized

    $206,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.
Estimate
    $80,000 – $120,000
The Dream of the Doctor

(B. 76; M., Holl. 70; S.M.S. 18)
engraving, circa 1498, without watermark, a very fine, rich and black Meder a-b impression, with burr in the darkest areas, printing with very faint wiping marks below, trimmed inside the platemark on three sides but retaining a fillet of blank paper outside the borderline, trimmed on or just inside the platemark above, in excellent condition
S. 7 3/8 x 4 5/8 in. (187 x 118 mm.)

                                             Coat of Arms with a Skull (B. 101; M., Holl. 98; S.M.S. 37)

Another surprise. This print has always been famous, I wonder what the buyer would think knowing it’s about syphilis

Coat of Arms with a Skull (B. 101; M., Holl. 98; S.M.S. 37)

Price Realized

    $338,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.
Estimate
    $250,000 – $350,000

Coat of Arms with a Skull
(B. 101; M., Holl. 98; S.M.S. 37)
engraving, 1503, without watermark, a magnificent, early Meder a impression, printing with sparkling contrasts and utmost clarity and subtlety, with touches of burr in the scrollwork and elsewhere, trimmed to or just inside the platemark but retaining a fillet of blank paper outside the borderline on all sides, in excellent condition
S. 8 7/8 x 6 5/16 in. (225 x 160 mm.)

                                             Adam and Eve (B., M,. Holl. 1; S.M.S. 39)

Never a surprise what Adam and Eva sells for.  If they only knew it’s real meaning.

Adam and Eve (B., M,. Holl. 1; S.M.S. 39)

Price Realized $662,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.
Estimate
    $300,000 – $500,000

(B., M,. Holl. 1; S.M.S. 39)
engraving, 1504, watermark Bull’s Head (M. 62), a very fine Meder IIa impression, printing very clearly and with good contrasts, trimmed on or just inside the platemark but retaining a fillet of blank paper on all sides, a horizontal crease, partially split at Adam’s right thigh but mostly visible verso, otherwise in very good condition
S. 9 15/16 x 7 11/16 in. (252 x 195 mm.)

                                             Saint Eustace (B. 57; M., Holl. 60; S.M.S. 32)

This may have been a world record.

Saint Eustace (B. 57; M., Holl. 60; S.M.S. 32)

Price Realized

    $722,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium

Saint Eustace
(B. 57; M., Holl. 60; S.M.S. 32)
engraving, circa 1501, watermark High Crown (M. 20), a superb, early Meder b impression, very rich and black, yet printing with astonishing clarity, with burr in the trees and elsewhere, with thread margins on three sides, trimmed on or just within the platemark below but retaining a fillet of blank paper outside the subject, laid down along the edges onto an 18th century album sheet, a small surface abrasion on the muzzle of the second dog from the right, generally in very good, original condition
P. 14 x 10¼ in. (357 x 260 mm.)
S. 14 1/8 x 10 15/16 in. (358 x 262 mm.)

                                             Melencolia I (B. 74; M., Holl. 75; S.M.S. 71)

Without a watermark even!

Melencolia I (B. 74; M., Holl. 75; S.M.S. 71)

Price Realized

    $530,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium
Estimate
    $400,000 – $600,000
 Melencolia I

(B. 74; M., Holl. 75; S.M.S. 71)
engraving, 1514, without watermark, a very fine, rich Meder IIa impression, printing very darkly in the shadows, on a large sheet with wide margins, with inky plate edges in places, with a horizontal central crease, mostly visible in the margins and verso, some pale scattered foxing in the margins, in excellent condition
P. 9 3/8 x 7 7/16 in. (239 x 189 mm.)
S. 13 3/8 x 10 5/8 in. (341 x 270 mm.)

                                             Saint Jerome in his Study (B. 60; M., Holl. 59; S.M.S. 70)

Close to the world record.  Check out the secret of the lion.

Saint Jerome in his Study (B. 60; M., Holl. 59; S.M.S. 70)

Price Realized

    $362,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium
Estimate
    $300,000 – $500,000

Saint Jerome in his Study
(B. 60; M., Holl. 59; S.M.S. 70)
engraving, 1514, without watermark, a very fine, bright Meder a impression, printing with remarkable clarity, with margins, in excellent condition
P. 9 13/16 x 7½ in. (249 x 190 mm.)
S. 10 3/8 x 7 7/8 in. (264 x 200 mm.)

 

                                             The Rhinoceros (B. 136; M., Holl. 241; S.M.S. 241)

THIS IS THE ONE THAT BLEW MY MIND!   I believe this is a world record.

Durer made this print as a souvenir print about this sensational creature that was brought to Europe, equivalent to freak images published in the National Enquirer.  He had done the same with the Monstrous Pig of Landser in 1496. Alas, the rhino drowned when the ship carrying it sank.

The Rhinoceros (B. 136; M., Holl. 241; S.M.S. 241)

Price Realized

    $866,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium .
Estimate
    $100,000 – $150,000

The Rhinoceros
(B. 136; M., Holl. 241; S.M.S. 241)
woodcut with letterpress text, 1515, watermark Anchor in Circle (M. 171), a very good impression of this rare and important woodcut, first edition (of eight), with the complete letterpress text above, with thread margins or trimmed to the borderline at left and right, trimmed just inside the borderline below and to the text above, a small abrasion in the monogram, otherwise in good condition

                                             Saint Anthony reading (B. 58; M., Holl. 51; S.M.S. 87)

One of Durer’s Hungarian Trophies.

Saint Anthony reading (B. 58; M., Holl. 51; S.M.S. 87)

Price Realized

    $386,500

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium
Estimate
    $100,000 – $150,000
  Saint Anthony reading

(B. 58; M., Holl. 51; S.M.S. 87)
engraving, 1519, without watermark, a superb Meder a impression, with narrow margins, in excellent condition
P. 3 7/8 x 5 5/8 in. (99 x 143 mm.)
S. 4 3/8 x 5¾ in. (111 x 146 mm.)

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23 thoughts on “The Secrets of Christies Auction Results-Astounding Dürer Art Prices

    1. I have a painting dated 1498 by Albrecht durer I am interested in speaking with you.
      719-205-5853

    1. Why would you buy a cut print that was damaged unless you are using it for some sort of artistic study or copying? I hope you didn’t pay much. Of course, it all depends how much is cut (printed words? then it may still have some value). Good luck!

  1. Hello Elizabeth,

    Would you be willing to assist me with information I need on Durer art and a piece a possess?

  2. Our uncle had two Durer prints . We have no idea of their value and they need cleaning.
    One is of the Prodigal Son and printed on watermarked paper that says “Porfolio”
    The other is Phipippi Mentem- no watermark and may be from a book
    Both have pressing indenting-
    Please advise us how to value them and get them cleaned-
    Thanks Marlene kline- klineyablon@verizon.net

    1. Thank you for this comment. You take them to a reputable print dealer who knows about Durer prints. You can always start at IPDFA to start to look for reputable print dealers or you can search the web with a search such as “Durer prints for sale” and find print dealers. Then you have to do some homework by contacting them and asking them whether they have libraries of books on Durer that they use and describe what you have.

      I can tell you that a print of the Prodigal son on watermarked paper that says Porfolio is not a real Durer print made during his lifetime or thru 1564, when his workshop was still under the control of the direct family inheritors.

      I have no idea what Durer print you are referring to that says Phipippli Mentem-there is no Durer print referred to that way.

      conservators clean prints. Print dealers know of good conservators it is not something you would have an amateur do. If you’d like to send me pics of these prints feel free to do so at Albrechtdurer999@gmail.com

      But truthfully, from the little you have revealed here, it doesn’t sound like you have a lost treasure that would be a spectacular find on Antiques road show. Sorry, that’s my opinion but i do appreciate the question for it’s good that others can learn from your question

      Best,

      Elizabeth.

  3. I have a AD piece if art. I think it is original. Can you direct me in finding its originality?

    Thank you!

  4. Years ago i bought a book of prints in germany. The book is put together with a waxy or oiled feeling cord. The cover is made of the same woven paper board (best as i can describe it) as the rest of the images. Pressed in inks is the AD in gold/yellow, blue and red. That is the only color image. All images are thick inked and you can feel the image on the back a bit. The book seems to be a collection of the bible from adam and eve to the appocalypse. There are no words just pictures. The pages are rather large too.

    I was wondering if this was real or valuable so i know how to place it in my library.

      1. They are still awesome looking. Do you know what I have other than copies? Maybe a timeframe for how old they are? I haven’t been able to find another collection like the one I have. Maybe you have run across something similar.

        Thanks for answering.

  5. Hello, I came across a Durer painting of a woman in blue holding a baby. I have found the image online but cannot find any sort of value. Is anyone familiar with this piece or have an idea of its value? Thank you

    1. There are many Durer paintings of women in blue, usually madonnas, holding a baby. Except for very few paintings in the hands of private collectors, they are all in museums. If you’d like to send an image, I can tell you which one it is.

      Basically figure any Durer painting is worth about $30 million or more USD

      Blue was the most expensive color to use in a painting, commissioners paid by “the blue” in the painting. Usually from lapis lazuli, cheaters used Azurite.

  6. I have an Albert Durer head of an old man with a blind seal in the lower right corner in an old hand carved wood frame with roll Bubble Glass as far as I know it was handed down through the family and came from Vienna it’s on very heavy paper with a reddish purple tint do you think I have something of value

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