Did I say $10 million. I meant er, $43.7 million. The art market came back with a bang this week, with the Andy Warhol work I mentioned two weeks ago selling for an astonishing price. For the price paid for one single artwork, a numismatist could assemble one helluva collection.
Andy Warhol's monumental masterpiece, 200 One Dollar Bills, brought a remarkable $43,762,500, soaring past the pre-sale estimate of $8/12 million. Competition was fierce. Auctioneer Tobias Meyer opened the bidding at $6 million and was immediately met with an almost unheard of response - a bid of $12 million, twice his opening bid. Five more bidders raised their paddles before the winning bid was cast by an anonymous purchaser bidding on the telephone.
The Warhol was the top-selling lot in a sale of Contemporary Art that brought an outstanding total of $134,438,000, far-above pre-sale expectations (est. $67.9/97.7 million) and with all but two lots finding buyers.
"Andy Warhol's 200 One Dollar Bills is a hugely important work for American art history," said Alex Rotter, Head of the Contemporary Art Department in New York. "Not only was it one of the starting points of Pop Art, but this picture had the perfect ownership history – directly from Warhol's dealer to the legendary collector Robert C. Scull, and then from his estate sale at Sotheby's to the current owner who acquired it in 1986 for $385,000. We are immensely gratified by the extraordinary price of more than $43 million achieved for the work this evening."
In addition to 200 One Dollar Bills several other works by Andy Warhol achieved strong prices tonight. A Self- Portrait from 1965 that the artist gave to Cathy Naso, a young receptionist at The Factory, sold for $6,130,500, more than tripling the pre-sale estimate of $1/1.5 million. More than seven bidders fought for the painting, which had been kept in a closest for 42 years, giving the colors a stunning quality and freshness.
"I think I am dreaming," said Ms. Naso, who attended the auction this evening but chose to keep a low profile. "I'm simply overwhelmed, both by the amazing price and also by all the attention this painting received. After all these years in the closet, the painting has now come out and has travelled to London, to Hong Kong and has been seen all over the world. Andy has made me famous for fifteen minutes and I've come to realize that fifteen minutes of fame is more than enough."
An Untitled 1962 drawing of a roll of dollar bills, also by Warhol, that came from the collection of Leonard Newman, eventually sold for $4,226,500 against a pre sale estimate of $2.5/3.5 million with seven bidders competing.
To read the complete article, see:
Andy Warhol's Iconic 200 One Dollar Bills from 1962 Sells for $43,762,500 at Sotheby's
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WHEN ARE 200 ONE DOLLAR BILLS WORTH $10 MILLION?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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