Weekly News Roundup: March 8 to March 12

In arts, antiques and collectibles news, we find spirits in bottles (and we don’t mean 80-proof), Christie’s winning auction rights to a prestigious collection and Sotheby’s doing boffo in Amsterdam.

From BBC News:
‘Bottled ghosts’ sold in New Zealand auction

Okay. Let’s see if we’ve got this straight. Some woman in New Zealand sensed “bizarre activity” in her house. Naturally, she calls in an exorcist. Said exorcist finds the spirits of an old man and a young girl and puts them in a couple of bottles filled with holy water. The woman puts the bottles up for auction, and an electronics company pays $1,395 for them. Hmm.

From The New York Times:
Christie’s Wins Bid to Auction $150 Million Brody Collection

The envelope, please. And the winner is . . . Christie’s bested Sotheby’s and will be auctioning off Frances Lasker Brody’s incredible art collection. Christie’s got the prize by putting up a guarantee. A couple of standouts in the auction are Picasso’s “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (Nude, Green Leaves and Bust), which could bring in $80 million and Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture of his brother, “Grande Tête de Diego” ($25 million to $35 million).

From Reuters:
Sotheby’s raises record sum at Amsterdam auction

On a brighter note for Sotheby’s, an auction of postwar and contemporary art went ballistic, going way above what was anticipated. The Peter Stuyvesant Collection brought in $18.6 million, more than double the high estimate.

From Bloomberg:
Sotheby’s Restores CEO’s Salary as Cost-Cutting Yields Profits

As long as we’re talking Sotheby’s, CEO William Ruprecht voluntarily lowered his pay from $700,000 to $600,000 last year as a fifth of the company’s staff was fired. Well, that was so last year. This year, he got the $100,000 back as Sotheby’s had a fourth-quarter profit of more than $73 million. Could the recession truly be ending?

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