Auction prices are not necessarily a clear indication of the true market value of an object. People seem to regularly go nuts at auctions; the price can quickly be pushed stratospherically beyond the reserve when two determined bidders decide to lock horns over a desired item.
Auctions can be very fickle, but overall I find them one of the best indicators of true "market value", because they represent actual prices paid...especially when talking about important pieces, which is where they generally change hands. I find markets like 1stdibs to be overly inflated in asking prices
, and you never know what people really pay for them.
I think the trick is avoid what the market has manipulated into what is "hot" at the moment, which creates a temporary inflated market for such items....which eventually dies down, and is replaced by other "must have" names & items.