Tag Archives: auction

The Sunrise Ruby

‘Pigeon blood’ ruby sells for record $30 million

The Sunrise Ruby

A rare 25.59-carat Burmese “pigeon blood” ruby sold for a world record $30.33 million at an auction in Geneva on Tuesday. There was strong demand for coloured stones and exceptional natural pearls, Sotheby’s said.

After competitive bidding, the ruby went to an anonymous telephone bidder for 26.25 million Swiss francs (27.3 million euros), with costs.

The “Sunrise Ruby” from Myanmar, part of a collection of Cartier jewels up for auction, had been expected to sell for between $12 and $18 million.

It set a record for a ruby and was also a record for a Cartier jewel at auction, Sotheby’s said.

Lightcycle Tron Legacy

Tron Lightcycle sold at auction for $77,000

Lightcycle Tron Legacy

The futuristic Lightcycle, star of the film “Tron: Legacy,” was sold through an auction by RM Sotheby’s at the Andrews Auto Collection for $77,000 over the weekend.

The bike is a replica of the one that Garrett Hedlund, the actor who played young Sam Flynn in 2010’s “Tron: Legacy,” was seen riding on screen.

This Lightcycle replica is powered by an electric engine and operates on lithium-ion batteries. It also boasts an internal computer that controls the throttle, and has hydraulic brakes.

Watch the bike in action during Tron Legacy below:

Picasso painting titled "Les Femmes d'Algers.

Picasso sets $179 million auction record in New York

Picasso's $179 Million 'Les Femmes d'Algers'

A Picasso masterpiece and a Giacometti statue smashed world records Monday for the most expensive art sold at auction, fetching more than $179 million and $141 million respectively in New York.

Pablo Picasso oil painting, “The Women of Algiers (Version 0),” sold for $179,365,000 after 11 minutes of furious bidding from four to five prospective buyers at Christie’s, where two auction rooms were packed.

It was the highest price for any work of art sold at auction, Christie’s said, but fell short of the $300 million reportedly paid privately by Qatar for Paul Gauguin’s painting “When Will You Marry?” in February.

Other world auction records were set for works by artists Cady Noland, Jean Dubuffet, Diane Arbus, Chaim Soutine and Peter Doig, Christie’s said.

Giacometti bronze

The auction house listed the buyers as anonymous but said clients from Asia, the Gulf, Russia, Europe and the United States had competed for the top 10 lots of the sale.

Exponential growth in the art market, particularly for modern and contemporary works, is attributed to a growing number of private investors around the world and burgeoning interest in Asia and the Gulf.

The previous world record for an artwork sold at auction was $142.4 million, set for British painter Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” which was sold by Christie’s in New York in 2013.

Three Studies of Lucian Freud

Giacometti had also held the previous record for the most expensive sculpture sold at auction, formerly occupied by his “Walking Man I” that fetched $104.3 million in London in 2010.

General MacArthur's watch

General MacArthur’s watch sells for $75,000

General MacArthur's watch

Seventy years after the end of World War II, a watch worn by legendary US five-star general Douglas MacArthur was sold at auction Sunday for 70,000 Swiss francs ($75,000), far above the estimate.

The steel Jaeger-Lecoultre “Reverso” watch — a classic model in which the dial can be flipped to protect the glass front from shocks — was the star offering at Sunday’s Antiquorum auction in Geneva.

The watch, made in 1937 and bought in Geneva, has MacArthur’s initials on the back and was put up for sale by his direct descendants.

Antiquorum had placed a pre-auction estimate of 10,000-20,000 Swiss francs on the historic timepiece.

Raised in a military family, MacArthur was chief of staff of the US army in the 1930s and was called on to defend the Philippines against the Japanese during World War II.

Although he was forced to flee to Australia, he fulfilled a promise to return to the Philippines and accepted Japan’s surrender on September 2, 1945.

Les Alyscamps, by Van Gogh

Van Gogh painting fetches $66 Million at NY auction

Les Alyscamps, by Van Gogh

A Vincent van Gogh painting of an autumnal scene in the south of France has brought in more than $66 million at an auction in New York City.

According to the Sotheby’s auction firm, Van Gogh’s “Les Alyscamps,” which depicts a stand of autumnal trees, had been expected to go for around $40 million but ultimately an Asian collector paid $66.3 million after an intense bidding war between five potential buyers.

The painting was made in 1888 during a two-month period when van Gogh and Paul Gauguin worked side-by-side in Arles, France.

The most ever paid for a Van Gogh was in 1990, when his “Portrait of Dr Gachet” sold for $82.5 million in New York.

100 carrat perfect diamond

‘Perfect’ diamond sells for $22 million in New York

Perfect Diamond

A “perfect” 100-carat diamond originally mined in South Africa sold for $22 million in New York on Tuesday in 3 minutes of bidding.

Sotheby’s had valued the jewel, which weighs 100.20 carats, at $19-25 million, calling it “the largest perfect diamond with a classic Emerald cut ever to be offered at auction.”

Discovered in the De Beers mines of South Africa then cut, polished and perfected for more than a year, it was the highlight in 370 lots at a Sotheby’s jewelry auction.

The winning bidder took part by telephone but wanted to remain anonymous, Sotheby’s said.

100 carrat perfect diamond

The auction house had showcased the jewel twice in the Middle East — in Doha and Dubai — as well as Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London and New York in a bid to attract interest ahead of the sale.

Sotheby’s says only five comparable quality diamonds weighing more than 100 carats have been sold at auction, the most expensive of which fetched $30.6 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2013.

white oval diamond

Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York, called the stone “the definition of perfection.”

“The color is whiter than white, it is free of any internal imperfections, and so transparent that I can only compare it to a pool of icy water.”


Pope Francis iPad

Pope’s iPad fetches $30,500 at auction

Pope Francis iPad

An iPad that belonged to Argentina-born Pope Francis went under the hammer for $30,500 on Tuesday, autioneers in Uruguay said.


Montevideo-based auction house Castells said the winning bid was placed by telephone. Local media threw a spotlight on the iPad last year.

The pope gave it — complete with its His Holiness Francis label and a Vatican certificate of authenticity — to an Uruguayan priest as a gift.


It ended up being donated to a local school by the priest, before being auctioned off to raise money.

Japanese mangoes

Pair of Japanese mangoes sold for $2,500

A deep pocketed Japanese department store shelled out an eye-watering 300,000 yen ($2,500) Monday for a pair of mangoes, a record price for the second year in a row.

Japanese mangoes

After the hammer fell at an auction in far-southern Miyazaki, the successful bidder airlifted the fruit to its luxury shop in Fukuoka, where they went on sale at a bargain 210,000 yen.

The mangoes — top-of-the-range “Taiyo no Tamago” (Egg of the Sun)-brand — were the first to go for auction this year, an occasion that usually attracts inflated prices.

To qualify as a “Taiyo no Tamago” mango, each fruit must weigh at least 350 grams (12 oz) and have a high sugar content.

While $2,500 is steep for a pair of mangoes, fruit is routinely expensive in Japan and it is not unusual for a single apple to cost upwards of $3.

This year’s must-have luxury fruit is a particular brand of strawberry, with a single berry currently selling for around $415.

However, all pale in comparison with the tear-inducing $25,000 price tag for a pair of cantaloupe melons auctioned in 2008.

Chinese Guan Vase

Chinese tycoon Liu snaps up ancient vase for $15 million

Guan Vase Southern Song Dynasty

Chinese tycoon Liu Yiqian splashed out nearly HK$114 million ($14.71 million) on an ancient vase at auction in Hong Kong Tuesday.

The octagonal piece, an 800-year-old Southern Song Dynasty work tinted a milky blue, broke the guide price of $7.7 million at the Sotheby’s sale.

Imperial Chinese bowl

The vase is from the same collection as a Chinese porcelain bowl which fetched nearly $27 million at a Sotheby’s sale in April 2012 (above). That price was a record for Song Dynasty ceramics.

Taxi-driver-turned-financier Liu — chairman of investment company Sunline Group — is one of China’s wealthiest men and among the country’s new class of super-rich scouring the globe for artworks.

Meiyintang Chenghua Chicken Cup

The 51 year-old broke the world auction record for Chinese porcelain in April last year when he bought a Ming Dynasty wine cup for $36 million, which he subsequently famously drank tea from.

In November he snapped up a Tibetan silk tapestry for $45 million at Christie’s in Hong Kong, setting another world record for any Chinese work of art sold by an international auction house.

Tibetan tapestry

Liu, who also owns his own museum in Shanghai, has said he is on a mission to bring ancient Chinese artefacts back to the country.

Swatch watches

This Swatch collection could fetch millions

 Swatch watches

One of the biggest private collections of Swatch watches in the world will go under the hammer in Hong Kong this week and is expected to fetch more than US$13 million.

Credited with breathing new life into the ailing Swiss watch industry after its launch in 1983, Swatch quickly became a cultural phenomenon with its multi-coloured plastic designs and largely affordable price tags.


The massive collection of more than 5,800 Swatch watches — including limited editions by artists including Kiki Picasso and Keith Harin will be sold as a “superlot” at Sotheby’s on Tuesday.

It is the pride and joy of Luxembourg-based Paul Dunkel, 68, who has spent more than two decades tracking down almost all the watches Swatch created in its first 25 years.

And it is clearly a wrench for the retired insurance broker to say goodbye to the collection. “For me, it’s not possible to continue (collecting). It’s so much work. The young people must continue,” he told AFP.

Dunkel’s obsession started in the 1980s. Already a collector of abstract art, he realised that some of his favourite artists were designing for Swatch, so he began collecting the watches and related artwork.

Dunkel has travelled far and wide to seek out pieces and has paid thousands of euros for some.

But his favourite is a simple 1994 design covered in white sheep, with one black one tucked away on the strap. He has a tie to match.

“Swatch is universal,” says Dunkel. “You can have one for every day of the week. I often wear one.”

eBay, Sotheby’s launch new online auctions platform

Sotheby’s Partners with eBay

eBay, Sotheby’s launch new online auctions platform

Famed auction house Sotheby’s and eBay launched yesterday their new live online auction site, ebay.com/sothebys.

The site, hosted by eBay, will allow collectors to bid on auctions in New York from anywhere in the world as they happen, access live streaming audio and video of the sales, and view items for sale.

The first auctions on the platform will begin on April 1 (that’s no joke) with photographs and a themed New York sale that will include the 13 letters of the 1970s Yankee Stadium sign that could fetch up to $600,000 from the collection of baseball great Reggie Jackson.

Online art sales are not new. Sotheby’s and its rival Christie’s conduct them. But the platform will bring Sotheby’s vast inventory to a new audience in the hopes of boosting sales and prices.

Frank Gehry Winton Guest House

Frank Gehry’s Winton Guest House going up for auction

Frank Gehry Winton Guest House

The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota is home to the Frank Gehry-designed Winton Guest House, and it’s soon putting the house up for auction, with a slight catch: you buy it, you move it.

Commissioned by Mike & Penny Winton in 1982 for their Lake Minnetonka property, and completed in 1987, the house has already been moved once: the Wintons sold their property in 2002 and the buyer donated the house to the University in 2007, with the provision that it be moved.


It was divided into eight sections for its 110-mile move in 2008 and later renovated on the new spot, a 180-acre site at the university’s Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna, Minnesota.

The Owatonna land was purchased last year by a health services company, and while the university kept ownership of the house, it agreed to move it once again, with an August 2016 deadline.

The modern and contemporary design auction house Wright is set to handle the house’s auction on May 19.

According to the university, the 2,300-square-foot house comprises five geometrically shaped rooms that surround a pyramid-shaped living room.

Chinese Guan Vase

Ancient Chinese vase set to fetch $7 million in Hong Kong

Chinese Guan Vase

A simple Chinese vase made over 800 years ago and unveiled in Hong Kong Monday is expected to fetch HK$60 million ($7.7 million) when it goes under the hammer next month, Sotheby’s said.

The plain octagonal piece, tinted a milky blue, was created during the Southern Song Dynasty and is just 20 centimetres (eight inches) tall.

Guan Vase Southern Song Dynasty

Despite its simplicity it represents the most coveted art of the period, Sotheby’s said, since it is part of a rare collection crafted for the imperial court, known as “guan yao” or “official ware”.

The vase is from the same collection as a Chinese porcelain bowl which fetched nearly $27 million at a Sotheby’s sale in April 2012 (below). That price was a record for Song Dynasty ceramics.

Imperial Chinese bowl

The Southern Song Dynasty vase is part of Sotheby’s Hong Kong Chinese Works of Art spring sale, which starts on April 7.

Gerhard Richter Wand

World art sales hit new record in 2014

Gerhard Richter Wand

Global art sales set a fresh record in 2014 driven by acquisitions from new museums, while China maintained its place at the top of the market.

Works worth $15.2 billion (13.5 billion euros) sold at auction during the year, an increase of 26 percent on 2013, Artprice said in its annual report, produced with China’s Artron.

A record number of 1,679 sales worth $1 million or more were recorded over the year, four times more than a decade ago, it added.

Thierry Ehrmann, founder and CEO of Artprice, described the figures as “an amazing result, an increase of 300 percent in a decade”.

He added that the boom was not being driven by speculators, with 37 percent of lots going unsold in the West and 54 percent in China.

2014 also saw 125 artworks sell for $10 million or more, not including commission, against 18 in 2005.

Greater China (Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan) maintained its market leader status, accounting for $5.6 billion in sales, followed by the U.S.

However, in a sign that a slow-down in Beijing’s economy and an anti-corruption drive that has curtailed luxury spending may have taken their toll, sales in China were down five percent compared to 2013.

2014 was an exceptionally strong year in the U.S., with $4.8 billion being spent at US auctions, an increase of 21% from the previous year.

British auction houses also put in a solid performance to secure third place with $2.8 billion in sales, up 35 percent from 2013.

Thierry Ehrmann

“Demand is constant and aggressive on every continent… notably from museums,” said Ehrmann.

“More museums were created between 2000 and 2015 than during the entire 19th and 20th centuries,” added Wang Jie, president of Artprice.com.

The phenomenal expansion saw a new museum opening every day somewhere in the world, led by growth in Asia, he said.

“A museum needs a minimum of 3,000 to 4,000 quality works to be credible… (and) is not meant to get rid of its acquisitions,” he added.

“Twenty years ago, America and Europe accounted for more than 95 percent” of sales, said Ehrmann, whereas today, buyers are active “on all continents without exception”.

Art, he said, “has become an investment category in its own right, reliable, stable over time and much less prone to turbulence that the stock market.”

Narendra Modi

More than $690,000 for the Indian Prime Minister’s suit

Narendra Modi

A diamond trader from Narendra Modi’s home state on Friday won the bidding for the personalised pinstriped suit the Indian prime minister wore to meet Barack Obama, tendering nearly $700,000 at a charity auction.

The bespoke wool suit with the words “Narendra Damodardas Modi” woven into the pinstripe proved a hot ticket at the three-day auction, sparking a bidding war that pushed the price up to 43.1 million rupees ($692,000).

The suit was among more than 450 lots put up for auction by Modi in the city of Surat in his home state of Gujarat.

Modi has won a reputation as a fashion icon for his sometimes daring sartorial choices.


Narendra Modi suit

But wearing a suit with his own name on it was seen by many as a step too far, drawing accusations of narcissism — possibly the reason Modi decided to sell it off.

The money raised will go towards cleaning up the holy Ganges river — a pet project of India’s Hindu nationalist prime minister.

Winning bidder Lalji Patel, owner of the Dharmanandan diamond company, said he had wanted to do something for his country.

“Buying this suit was all I wanted. It feels good to know that the money will go towards the cleaning of the holy river,” he told reporters.


Paul Cezanne painting

Cezanne masterpiece sold for $20.5 million in London

Paul Cezanne painting

A Paul Cezanne painting of a southern French town sold for $20.5 million (18 million euros) in a London auction on Wednesday.

“Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If”, rare among Cezanne works as a vertical-format landscape was painted during a visit to L’Estaque.

The painting, sold at auction by Christie’s, captures a view from the hill above the town, with pine trees framing the fishing port’s terracotta rooftops and the Mediterranean Sea.

The “Chateau d’If” fortress of the title is located on one of the Frioul islands visible in the background of the painting, which had a pre-sale estimate of £8-12 million pounds ($12.2-18.3 million).

Dating from around 1883-1885, the artwork was bought in 1936 by collector Samuel Courtauld and remained in his private collection.

Cezanne moved to L’Estaque with his family due to the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, and returned to the town several times. The painting was created during one of his last visits.


Big Mac sauce

$18,000 for McDonald’s special sauce

Big Mac sauce

McDonald’s is selling a bottle of the special sauce used on their iconic Big Mac burgers on eBay, which has attracted a bid for more than $17,000.

The 500 ml ‘Limited Edition Big Mac Special Sauce Bottle #1 of 200’ is being auctioned on eBay Australia with all proceeds going to charities run by the global chain to help sick children and their families.


McDonald’s said the special sauce was one of the company’s most iconic ingredients, and customers often ask where they could buy it.

The auction for the sauce, whose ingredients include relish, mustard, distilled vinegar, onion, garlic and salted egg yolks, will run until Feb 11.

Australian customers of McDonald’s will also be able to buy 25ml tubs of special sauce at restaurants around the country in February.


McDonald’s is the world’s largest burger chain, with 36,000 outlets in more than 100 countries, but changing consumer tastes are proving a challenge as are agile new fast-food chains, compounded by a slump in sales in China and Japan after a scare over food safety.


AirBerlin auctions off business class upgrades

AirBerlin business class

AirBerlin is giving travelers a chance to experience all the comforts of business class at a reduced price.

Economy class customers can simply state how much they are willing to pay for an upgrade, and any unsold business class seats will go to the highest bidder.

Under the new AirBerlin Exquisite program, travelers who have purchased economy class tickets on long-haul flights are invited to submit their bids up until 72 hours before takeoff.

Available business class upgrades will then go to the highest bidders, who are informed of the change 12 hours before departure.

Naturally, while all bidders are required to enter their credit card information, only the winners of the auction are charged.

AirBerlin offers the new service exclusively on select long-haul flights where business class seats are still available.

The German carrier is not the first company to launch this type of service. Cathay Pacific, Austrian Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines also give passengers the opportunity to bid on ticket upgrades.

Read More: Get ready for a double bed in business class

The Lisa Marie jet

Elvis Presley’s Private Jets Up For Auction [VIDEO]

The Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, two private jets purchased and customized by Elvis Presley in the 1970s, are going under the hammer. The bidding starts Friday, January 2 in California.

The first jet, named for the King’s daughter, was purchased from Delta Airlines on April 17, 1975 for $250,000. The rock ‘n’ roll icon spent a further $300,000 redecorating the aircraft and outfitting it with a luxurious bedroom, a conference room and a bathroom with a golden wash basin.

The Lisa Marie jet

For the exterior, Elvis chose the red, white and blue color scheme and had his motto TCB (Taking Care of Business) painted at the back.

The late singer paid $900,000 for the second plane, the Hound Dog II, which he used while the Lisa Marie was being refurbished.

Elvis Presley Hound Dog II jet

Through an agreement with the current owners, these collector’s items, which are no longer airworthy, have been displayed over the past three decades at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. They will leave the King’s former residence this April, though the future owners will have the option to purchase land adjacent to Graceland to display them.

Elvis Presley’s private jets are being sold in a sealed-bid auction where they are expected to fetch between $10 million and $15 million.

Rome from Mount Aventine

Turner masterpiece sells for record $47 Million

Rome from Mount Aventine

A major oil painting by J.M.W. Turner sold Wednesday for $47 million at Sotheby’s in London, breaking a previous record for the artist.

“Rome, from Mount Aventine” (above), depicting the river of the Italian capital bathed in morning light, was painted in 1835.

Four bidders competed for the 1835 painting, described by the auction house as one of Turner’s “supreme achievements”.

“This painting, which is nearly 200 years old, looks today as if it has come straight from the easel of the artist,” said Alex Bell of Sotheby’s old master paintings department.

“The hairs from Turner’s brush, his fingerprint, the drips of liquid paint which have run down the edge of the canvas, and every scrape of his palette knife have been preserved in incredible detail.”

It was the highest price paid for a pre-20th century work by a British artist and beat the previous record set for a Turner painting — £29.7 million paid for “Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino” in 2010 (below).

sothebys turner

Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1836, the work was last sold in 1878, when it was bought from a friend and patron of Turner’s by Archibald Primrose, later to become British prime minister.

The sale comes amid renewed interest in one of Britain’s greatest artists, sparked by an acclaimed film biopic.

The biopic directed by Mike Leigh netted star Timothy Spall the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of the artist.

A major exhibition of Turner, famous for his English landscapes and paintings of Rome and Venice, also opened at Tate Britain in September.