The Classicist: Rash of New World Records Says "The Rich Are Back"
Following an incredible number of record-breaking sales of some of the world's most expensive items, from cars to art to watches, diamonds and estates, that have taken place just in the past two weeks, we are hereby making an official declaration: The Rich Are Back. While the economic recovery has been slow to materialize in some quarters, those with the money to make multimillion-dollar purchases are suddenly not shy about dropping the coin. The megabucks deals mean an optimistic outlook has finally taken a firm hold, and the wealthy no longer feel the need to pinch their pennies in the fear that more hard times could be lurking right around the corner. We say it's about time too.
In one hectic twelve-day period, from May 3 to May 14, we saw the record-breaking sales of a $106 million Picasso painting; a $50 million mansion in Bel-Air; a $46 million ranch in Colorado; a $40 million Bugatti; a $32 million Warhol self-portrait; a $26 million Jasper Johns painting; an $18 million Ferrari; an $8 million blue diamond; and a $5 million Patek Philippe chronograph – about $330 million worth of the world's most expensive possessions. The astonishing sales have given an immediate boost to the art, classic cars, real estate and collector's timepieces markets, many of which faltered in the wake of the economic downturn, losing billions of dollars in value. Here's a rundown of the nine history-making deals as they unfolded over the twelve-day whirlwind of wealth disbursement; see the gallery for images:
Gallery: The Return of the Rich
• On May 4 Pablo Picasso's 1932 painting Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust, from the Collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, was sold for a staggering $106.5 million to an unidentified buyer at Christie's landmark Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York, setting a new world record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.
• On May 5 we reported that an extremely rare 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic traded hands for between $30 and $40 million, easily breaking the work record for the highest sum ever paid for a single automobile.
• On May 10 a unique Patek Philippe gold chronograph made in 1944 was sold for $5.6 million at a Christie's auction in Geneva, setting a new world record.
• On May 11 a Jasper Johns flag painting from the collection of late author Michael Crichton was sold by Christie's in New York for $28.6 million, setting a new world record for the artist.
• On May 12 an Andy Warhol self-portrait painted in 1986 was sold for $32.6 million at Sotheby's' Contemporary Art sale in New York, setting a new record for a Warhol self portrait at auction.
• Also on May 12 we reported that a 7.64 carat fancy intense blue cushion-shaped diamond mounted in yellow gold and platinum sold to an anonymous buyer for $8 million at Sotheby's in Geneva, setting a new record price per carat for the stone.
• On May 13 we revealed that a legendary 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO had been acquired by UK radio host Chris Evans in a private treaty sale conducted by RM Auctions for at least $18 million.
• On May 14 we reported that an Indonesian buyer is in contract to buy a ten-bedroom mansion in Bel Air, California for around $50 million, breaking the record set by Bootjack Ranch just 10 days earlier.