In this week’s art, antiques and collectibles headlines, a skull with history is removed from auction, a Picasso takes a beating and a beat-up, rusty car sells for top dollar.
Skull and crossbones removed from auction
Someone thought it was a good idea. Whomever that someone was wanted to auction off a human skull that the secretive Yale Skull and Bones Society (former members include George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, William Howard Taft, Henry Luce, John Kerry and a lot of other notables) used during elections. The thought was this curiosity would bring in $20,000. Someone else questioned the ownership of the skull, so Christie’s withdrew it.
Picasso Painting Ripped After Visitor Bumps Into Museum Exhibit
Talk about a big, fat oops. An unidentified woman attending a class at the Metropolitan Museum of Art somehow lost her balance. Unfortunately, she didn’t fall into a water fountain. Nope. She fell into a Picasso masterpiece from his Pink Period, “The Actor,” worth $130 million. We seriously doubt the museum will let unidentified woman take another class.
Bugatti Salvaged From Lake Makes $368,320, Three Times Estimate
Have you heard the one about the Bugatti that sat at the bottom of Lake Maggiori in Switzerland for 70 years? Pushed into the lake by Swiss customs officials? The punch line is a divers’ group pulled it out of the lake, and despite being damaged and more than a little rusted, it sold at auction for almost $370,000. Proceeds go to charity.
Getty Drama at Christie’s Sale
The Getty’s senior curator sat at the front of the Christie’s auction room, apparently not much interested in the Louis Leopold Bouilly depiction of a Parisian street scene. A London dealer sat at the back. When the gavel came down, the dealer walked away with the painting for what some deemed a steal at $4,562,500. Ah, but wait. Although the dealer remained mum about the client for whom he was bidding, the Getty curator kind of let the cat out of the bag by saying “. . . we paid the same price [for it] the seller did 20 years ago.”
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