Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Banksy wall sells on eBay

When the eBay auction for Banksy’s latest mural closed, the winning bid was a whopping £208,100 (approx. $400,000).

The wall in question, located on Portobello Road in West London, belonged to Luti Fagbenle. He was quoted as having said that he couldn’t “really justify owning a piece of art worth as much as it is,” so he sold it

. The price did not include the removal of the piece, or the replacement of a graffiti-free wall.

This event falls only weeks before the world’s first ever Urban Art auction at Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers on February 5th.


A pair of suede-fringed boots are expected to make over $20,000 when they come up for auction in April.

That's because they were worn on stage by iconic rock musician Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was nearly as famous for his sartorial style as for his amazing guitar skills.

The boots were worn by Hendrix onstage at Golden Gate Park on June 27, 1967 and will be part of Heritage's upcoming Music & Entertainment Auction, to be held April 4-6, 2008 in Dallas, Texas. The auction lot includes photographic documentation.

Monday, 21 January 2008

You Bought What?!

10 Extraordinarily Peculiar eBay Purchases

by Julius Vortemizzi

Since the creation of eBay, just about everything has been bought and sold. Take a look at some of this stuff...

eBay - The worldwide garage sale. Since its creation millions of items have been bought and sold. You can find just about anything on eBay, the question is whether or not you would buy it. Some of the items are quite hilarious, some are rather interesting, and others are just plain weird. Perhaps the strangest phenomena is the ridiculous amounts of money people are actually willing to pay for some of this crazy stuff.

Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich:

Diane Duyser, from Florida sold her grilled cheese sandwich that appeared to have the face of the Virgin Mary upon it. The item was purchased by an online casino for $28,000!

Ghost in a Jar:

A man from Arkansas sold a strange jar that he claimed contained a ghost inside of it. He said he found it while metal detecting around an old cemetery.

18 Year old British Girl's Virginity:

In order to pay off her college tuition, an English girl put her virginity up for auction on eBay without her parents knowledge. The auction started on eBay but was taken off and completed on another site The bid started at $10,000 and was taken up by a business man.

Ex-wife's Wedding Dress:

A man found his ex-wife's wedding dress in the attic and before he could burn it, his sister suggested he sell it on eBay. Along with a description of the dress, he delivered a hilarious rant about his ex-wife and even modeled the dress himself. He claims all he wanted was enough money to buy tickets for a Mariners game and a case of beer. His wish came true when a young lady purchased the dress for $3,850!

Doritos Cheese Pope Hat:

In Salem, Massachusetts, the Chadwick family opened up a bag of Doritos to discover a chip that perfectly resembled the Pope's Mitre or in other word's, the pope's "really tall hat". The same online casino that purchased the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese bought this cheesy artifact for $1209!

6.The Meaning of Life:

That's right, folks. For $3.26 it's all yours. The answers to everything you could ever ask. But if you live outside of the U.S., that's just too bad because the seller would only ship within the U.S. The exact nature of this item was not given and the only picture was the rainbow.

7.Vampire Killing Kit:

A seller from Oklahoma made $2,005.50 from this supposed 18th Century Vampire Killing Kit. It all came in a linden wood box, lined on the inside with maroon velvet. Inside the box were the following items: One wooden hammer (9 inches long), four stakes 7 inches - each), prayer book, crucifix, knife, picking scissors and eight bottles with Pamant (holy soil), Agheazma (holy water), Mir (anointing oil), Tamaie (holy incense), Usturoi (garlic), red serum, blue serum and secret potion, wooden cross, and a metal syringe box. The seller claimed that the estimated value of the artifact was between $29,000 and $51,000 although many doubt this to be true.

8.John F Kennedy Assassination Shooters Perch Window:

The actual window and frame from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed John F. Kennedy. 188 bids were placed and the winning bidder paid $3,001,501.00 on February 16th 2007 and gained what is most likely the most valuable window in the world.

9.Real Shrunken Heads:

26 shrunken heads were sold on eBay. The heads came straight from the Jíbaro Indian tribe in the jungles of Ecuador. Only 7 bids were placed on them and the winner paid a little under $25 for them.

10.UFO Detector:

A small Brazilian Company known as InterBras put this "very sensitive magnometer" up for sale on eBay in March of 2000. They claimed that when foreign objects were flying nearby in the sky, it would flash and beep. A UFO enthusiasts happily payed $135 it.

Jug owner hoped to make £200 at auction. It is actually worth £5m

By Arifa Akbar, Arts Correspondent
From to-day's Independent

When a seemingly unremarkable French claret jug was put up for sale last week at a provincial auction in Somerset, it was expected to fetch up to a couple of hundred pounds at best.

In fact it turned out to be one of the biggest bargains in auction history. The delicate ewer, it transpired, was not a French jug as billed in the auctioneer's catalogue, but one of the rarest treasures of medieval Egypt with a market value of £5m. Only five other such pitchers exist and one specialist dealer has described the Somerset find as the "Holy Grail" of Islamic art.

The extraordinary story, reported in The Art Newspaper today, began when the 11th-century ewer was put up for sale by Lawrences auctioneers of Crewkerne, who described it as a 19th-century claret jug adorned by mythological animals, birds, and vegetal motifs, and set with European silver gilt and enamel mounts, possibly of Austro-Hungarian origin.

The valuers failed to realise that it was among a handful of Fatimid rock crystal ewers, which are considered among the rarest and most valuable objects in the Islamic art world. The last one to surface on the market was bought by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1862.

Expected to fetch around £100 to £200 in the Somerset sale, the jug eventually fetched the far higher sum of £220,000, with its anonymous seller doubtless marvelling at an apparently handsome profit. The identity of the buyer has also not been disclosed.

One specialist London dealer described the crystal ewer yesterday as the "Holy Grail" of Islamic art but said he himself had failed to correctly identify the pitcher from the small, indistinct photograph of a "claret jug" on the website of the auction house.

"I've spent my whole life hoping to find one," he said. "This may be the biggest sleeper ever to appear on the Islamic art market. It seems strange that it stopped at £220,000. There is no question in my mind that this is authentic. Fatimid rock crystal ewers are impossible to fake," he said.

Rock crystal artefacts in the Fatimid royal treasury in Cairo were looted by mutinous troops in the 11th century. Under Saladin, the Sunni Ayyubid ruler who conquered Egypt and deposed the Fatimid Caliphs, huge numbers of the treasures were destroyed. The ewers and similar vessels which did survive were thought to have been carried back to Europe by crusaders and ended up being used as reliquaries in churches.

There are around 180 rock crystal pieces known toexist in the world today, the majority of which are small items such as pendants and kohl bottles. A tiny bevel-carved rock crystal flask, which measured only 2.57cm high, sold at auction at Sotheby's last October for £558,100.

The six remaining narrow-necked ewers, of which this is one, represent a remarkable feat of hardstone carving, according to experts, sealing their exalted status in the Islamic arts world.

With the exception of the pitcher bought by the V&A, all the other ewers remain in ecclesiastical collections. The treasury of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice has two, one of which bears an inscription to the Fatimid Caliph al Aziz and is closest in style to the one sold last week. Another is in the Cathedral of Fermo in Italy, and another was in the treasury of the Abbey of Saint Denis in Paris but has since been transferred to the Louvre.

The one other known ewer was kept in Pitti Palace collection in Florence. On display in the Museo degli Argenti, in 1998 it was accidentally dropped by a museum employee, and it shattered.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Auction at Royal Geographical Institute

I conducted an enjoyable auction at the RGI on Friday night in aid of ALERT who reintroduce lions to the wild in Africa.

We got £1,000 for a Guy Hammond painting and £950 and £1,050 for two Paul Bussell signed photos. I would tip these latter as good value and they have huge investment potential.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Volkswagen-sized giant mastodon skull for auction

A Texas museum that teaches creationism is counting on the auction of a prehistoric mastodon skull to stave off extinction.

The Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum, which rejects evolution and promotes the theory that man and dinosaurs coexisted, believes it faces certain closure after 10 years barring a generous bid Sunday on the estimated 40,000-year-old specimen.

Heritage Auction Galleries projects that the will fetch upward of $160,000. The artifact discovered in La Grange in 2004 is believed to be the largest of its kind.

The museum said they would love to keep the skull of the elephant-like mammal as the centerpiece of his tiny museum just outside Lubbock, which includes creationist exhibits like one purporting to show that Noah took dinosaurs aboard his ark.
But they have been financially crippled by about $136,000 that’s been ordered to pay in a legal dispute over finder's rights to an Allosaurus skeleton unearthed in Colorado. About $141,000 has also been put into the mastodon skull's restoration.

If the mastodon auction doesn't cover the judgment, local authorities will seize the museum and sell off its contents in February..

The Heritage auction will also include other natural history items, including a 26-pound gold nugget found in Mexico that is expected to fetch at least $1 million.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Henry V111 wife’s hair for auction.

Bonham’s auction of Jan 15th contains a lock of hair belonging to Henry V111’s 6th wife. Catherine Parr not alone kept her head but also survived the king.

Other items set to go under the hammer: a tiger skin rug with mounted head; a Boy Scout hat once owned by the movement's founder, Robert Baden-Powell; a pair of glass cucumber straighteners.

Several pigeon portraits from the collection of a wartime bird-breeder are included in the "Gentleman's Library" sale, an eclectic array of items being offered at Bonhams auction house Jan. 15.

The sale also includes a silver candlestick inscribed to Jet, a German shepherd awarded the Dickin medal for finding survivors in the rubble of bombed London buildings.

Bonhams said the auction features "a wide range of typical accessories for a gentleman's library," including furniture, bronzes, busts, lamps, walking canes and humidors.