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Land Through a Lens: Images from the Antipodes 1860 – 1974 Highlights

By May 8, 2020News

Webb’s latest online auction Land Through a Lens: Images from the Antipodes 1860 – 1974 on Thursday evening saw some of the earliest images of New Zealand life and landscape go under the hammer.

This was Webb’s second offering of a specialised Historical Photography auction in 12 months, demonstrating a growing market and demand for the material both to local and offshore collectors and institutions. The markets response to this landmark offering was overwhelmingly positive, with some highly encouraging statistics emerging from what was one of the most hotly contested auctions of the year.

The dedication of Webb’s domestically and internationally client base was on full show as the overall theme of buyer engagement permeated the sale in every manner. Online there was a total of ‘nearly 15,000’ views through the course of the auctions 6 day span, this translated into 112 bidders and 789 total bids, with 386 of those coming in the final two hours of the auction. The fiercely competitive bidding that concluded the auction was the catalyst for perhaps the auctions most impressive statistic; 175% sell through by value.

The Burton Brothers were well represented in this catalogue, with some of their rarest and most sought after images being offered. The quality of this selection was aptly recognised as bidders fought to secure their highly collectible 19th century photography. Of particular note was  ‘Interior, Runanga House, Ohinemutu’ with an estimate of  $200 – $400 and selling for $5.640 (incl BP), setting a new record for the brothers at auction. The iconic 1886 image ‘The Hot Water Basins, White Terrace’ depicting the landscape just before the eruption of Mt Tarawera attracted a number of bidders, eventually selling for $4,230 (incl BP) against an estimate of $400 – $600, the second highest price for the brothers at auction behind the aforementioned lot.

Josiah Martins 1880’s image Maori King Tawhaio is emblematic of his practice. Presenting the subject in a bust portrait format, in full moko and wearing a feather cloak. It sparked a flurry of bidding through the middle stages of the auction, with the winning bid of $6,462.50 (incl BP) against an estimate of $600 – $1,200 setting yet another record for an artist in the auction.

The success of this sale indicates reaffirms the confidence taken from those that preceded it through March and April, buyers remain engaged and eager to acquire. Webb’s continues to present highly curated sales, whilst the excitement of the auction process remains firmly intact through our online portal.