Despite setting new records last year, one would be ill-advised to ignore the onslaught of reports that the auction houses of the world are increasingly suffering the symptoms of decline. Indeed, last year jewellery sales were down by a whopping 17.6 percent, with Christie’s sales falling by 11.5 percent and Sotheby’s by 25 percent.
However, it wasn’t all bad… gavels still dropped and collectors still locked horns to outbid each other. In fact, 2019 seems to be off to a not-so-shabby start with George Michael’s Collection coming up next month at Christie’s – a sure treat for any modern art collector.
Below are the most interesting auctions of 2019 thus far…
A not-so-pretty penny sold for a pretty extraordinary price of US$204,000 last month at a Florida auction. What made the value jump from $0.01 to over six figures, you ask? Well, this particular penny is indeed rare as it was mistakenly minted in bronze rather than steel, and with only 10 to 15 of these accidental pennies said to exist in the whole world, making it wholly worthy of its astounding price. The seller, Don Lutes, is believed to have originally found the lucky Lincoln coin inside his pocket after being handed over loose change from his school cafeteria way back in 1947. Now that’s what we call lunch money.
A range of iconic American pop artist Andy Warhol’s paintings went under the hammer earlier this month, the priciest piece turning out to be a painting titled Orangutan (from Endangered Species) 1983 which fetched US$150,000 – more than double its estimated sale price of US$60,000. Orangutan stood out from the rest of the lot due to Warhol’s own curiosity in the animal and the unique idea to draw the ill-fated ape in an upbeat and colourful manner to help propel the species towards stardom and hopefully save it from extinction. Only 30 trial proofs were created, making this signed screenprint a delightful addition to any collector’s home.
Fans of American skateboarding and streetwear brand Supreme were delighted to bid on the entire full set of decks created by the iconic brand, dating back to 1998. The 248 skateboards set a record at US$800,000 for the whole shabang, definitely a more expensive hobby than your teenage son would have you believe twenty-some odd years ago…
Cows certainly made headlines last week as an US Angus bull set new records with its sale at a cool US $1.51 million in North Dakota on Friday. The fancy bull was none other than SAV America 8018, who despite his stout figure is barely over a year old, not bad for a man just barely out of his calf years. Mr 8018 will soon be heading to his new farm in Nebraska with his new owners Herbster Angus Farms; we think its fair to assume while he may be one, he won’t be taking any bull.
Text: Bailey Atkinson