Most Expensive Things Sold At Auction 2010
2010 saw a lot of records set in the auction world. The art market was back in a big way. One painting that dazzled the world was Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust which sold for $106.5 million at Christie's, setting a world record for any work of art sold at auction beating out a Giacometti sculpture which had sold for over $104 million. After the jump, a list of things that earned the "most expensive" title in their categories in 2010.
In November, an 18th century Chinese porcelain vase, which was discovered when a house was cleared out was sold for £43 million ($69.3 million) at Bainbridges Auctions (£53.1m after commission which pushes the total to over $85 million). The vase was only estimated to sell for £1.2 million but fierce bidding among Chinese would-be buyers drove up the price. The vase sold to a Chinese bidder who turned up to bid on behalf of an undisclosed buyer. One of the things that makes this vase so amazing is that it has a reticulated double walled construction. There is an inner vase that can be viewed through the perforations of the main body. It is of the Qianlong period, circa 1740s and decorated with four cartouches each showcasing different styles of fish at play on stylized water backgrounds. It has a delicately painted yellow trumpet neck and vase set off from the central decoration by orange bands.
Most expensive English furniture: The Harrington Commode:
A piece of furniture believed to be crafted by Thomas Chippendale and dating to circa 1770 set a new record for any piece of English furniture sold at auction. The Harrington Commode was sold by Sotheby's London for £3,793,250 ($5,980,438), over three times its estimate. The price trumped the previous record set in June 2008 over at Christie's for a George II Parcel-Gilt Padouk Cabinet-on- Stand also attributed to Thomas Chippendale, which sold for £2,729,250 ($5,324,763).
Most expensive book: Audubon's Birds of America:
One of the most monumental printed books ever produced, John James Audubon's Birds of America, sold at Sotheby's London for £7,321,250 ($11,542,683) setting a new world record for any printed book ever sold at auction. There are only around 100 copies of this book which contains 435 hand-colored prints and is more than three feet tall. A different copy sold for $8.8 million in 2000. The book was purchased by London dealer Michael Tollemache, who was bidding in the room and who described the work after the sale as "priceless."
Most expensive sheet music: The Star Spangled Banner
A rare first edition of the United States national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, sold at auction at Christie's for $506,500 (including the buyer's premium), setting a record price for any sheet music sold at auction.
Most expensive wine: Châteaux Lafite-Rothschild 1869
In October three bottles of Châteaux Lafite-Rothschild 1869 sold at a Hong Kong auction by Sotheby's for a hammer price of $232,692 a bottle (a total of $698,076) making them the most expensive bottles of wine ever sold at auction. The entire sale of treasures direct from the legendary Chateau Lafite brought in a total of $8.4 million, tripling the pre-sale high estimate of $2.5 million.
Most expensive diamond: The Graff Pink
Sotheby's Geneva set a world auction record for diamonds in November when it sold a 24.78 carat Fancy Intense Pink emerald cut diamond set in platinum for $46 million. It sold to diamantaire Laurence Graff who called it the most fabulous diamond he'd ever seen.
Most expensive bracelet: An onyx and diamond panther bracelet once owned by Wallis Simpson set a new world record for the most expensive bracelet ever sold at auction. The bracelet sold for £4.5 million ( $7.036 million) at Sotheby's London. The bracelet was part of a collection of jewels once owned by King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Cartier's celebrated 'Great Cat' jewels were inspired by Jeanne Toussaint, whose association with the firm began in 1915. The cats are among her most famous animal jewels. In 1933 she became responsible for the Haute-Joaillerie of the firm by Louis Cartier, and soon afterwards began conferring with the Duke of Windsor on many projects. This piece dates from 1952.
Most Expensive Barbie: The World's Rarest Barbie by Stefano Canturi was auctioned off at Christie's to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The doll wears over three carats of white diamonds and a necklace bearing a one-carat Fancy Vivid Pink emerald-cut diamond from the Australian Argyle mine. It brought in $302,500.00 beating the previous Barbie record, set by Christie's South Kensington in 2006: $17,091.00 for the 1965 Barbie in "Midnight Red."
Most Expensive English Silver:
A massive silver wine cooler sold at a Sotheby's London auction set a new record price for English silver at auction. The cooler was considered to be the most important piece of English silver to come to the market in 50 years and weighs in at a hefty 168 pounds. The Great Silver Wine Cistern made for Thomas Wentworth sold for £2,505,250 beating the pre-sale estimate of £1.5-2.5 million.
Most expensive comic book:
This year the first appearances of Batman and Superman battled it out to see which would be most valuable. The first appearance of Batman sold for an amazing $1,075,500, breaking the $1 million record set by the 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1, featuring Superman's debut but then another version of Action Comics No. 1 sold for $1.5 million. It is estimated that there are around 100 copies of the comic still in existence although condition varies.