This week's Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening sale in London started off with a bang when the first lot, Ai Weiwei's sunflower seeds, came up for sale. The Chinese artist generated headlines around the world when he installed 100 million ceramic sunflowers seeds in the Tate Modern in London and art watchers were curious to see how the art would sell. The first 100-kilogram pile of seeds was estimated to bring in £80,000 to £120,000 but sold for sold for £349,250 ($559,394) or around £3.50 per seed.
Each porcelain sunflower seed was individually hand made and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. The Sotheby's listing suggests that the piece can be installed either in a mound as shown above or smoothed out into a carpet-like experience. There will be a total of ten lots sold from this work.