All year, I've sifted through story after story in which auctions either miss or barely attain low-end estimates. So, the action at Bukowskis auction house in Stockholm easily caught my attention. The chess set (probably) used in the match against Death in Ingmar Bergman's 1957 film "The Seventh Seal" sold for a whopping 100 times the minimum. So, where bidders are committed, there is still plenty of life in the auction market.
The pieces, made from wood and plaster, went for $143,270 shortly after midnight (local) on Tuesday morning. The low-end for the chess set was between $1,400 and $2,100. In total, 339 lots sold at the Bukowskis auction, resulting in $2.5 million, 8.5 times the minimum aggregate asking price of $285,000. Bergman's writing desk, designed by Carl Malmsten, moved for nearly $23,000, and a pair of night tables adorned with scribbled personal notes by Bergman sold for just over $48,000 – despite the commencement of bidding at $2,800.
Depending on the estate, it seems, the auction market is coming back.