From microphones that may have actually touched the lips of K-Pop band BTS to an 18th century painting and a watch owned by the late Tom Petty, here are some of the hottest auction lots sold at auction houses around the world recently.
BTS’ Stage-Used and Signed Custom Microphones
Auctioned by Julien’s Auctions online for US$83,200 (about RM350,397).
One of the highlights of MusiCares’ 30th Anniversary Person Of The Year Online Charity Auction, these seven custom silver-toned Shure microphones were the first ever items to come to auction from the wildly successful South Korean boy band, BTS. Used between 2017 and 2019, including during the epic ‘BTS World Tour Love Yourself: Speak Yourself’, the microphone set comes housed in a velvet-lined black case with ‘BTS’ on the front. Each numbered microphone lists one of the BTS member’s names, and is signed by the respective band members in black marker.
Madonna of the Rosary with Angels by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York for US$17.3 million (about RM73 million).
This imposing 246 by 156 cm altarpiece by the Venetian master, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, led Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Master Paintings at the tail end of January. Outstripping its pre-auction estimate of US$15 million, it is considered one of the rarest and most significant works by Tiepolo ever to come to market, having brought him recognition as one of the greatest painters of 18th-century Europe. Signed and dated in 1735 during the artist’s early mature period, the work depicts the Madonna – raised on a pedestal and surrounded by angels – and at the time of auction, was thought to be the only large-scale altarpiece still in private hands.
Tom Petty’s Custom Nixon Watch
Auctioned by Julien’s Auctions online for US$22,400 (about RM94,338).
Another star of MusiCares’ online charity auction in January, in aid of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of those in the music community, was a custom, limited edition Nixon watch featuring Tom Petty’s personalised guitar strap. The western motif watch is numbered ‘1/9’ on the back and engraved with the words ‘Made with leather donated by Tom Petty’ – a treat for fans of the American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. Beside a silver toned, western-style buckle with red stones, this 45 mm Sentry Chizono model comes with a silvered dial, baton chapters, three subsidiary dials, and a date window.
Dog by Keith Haring
Auctioned by Phillips in London for £591,000 (about RM3.2 million).
Of the 35 editions of Keith Haring’s Dog, this particular lot set a new world auction record at Phillips’ Editions sale in London, breaking the previous record – set, again, by Phillips – from 2019. Created in 1986, this plywood work is painted in yellow enamel with Haring’s instantly recognisable screenprints in black. It exudes his vibrant and dynamic style, bearing Haring’s visual language of symbols, which are at once playful and transparent but also open to multiple interpretations. Apart from this edition – signed, dated, and numbered 6/10 in black felt-tip pen – the others include 15 white on black, 10 red on black, seven artist’s proofs, and three unique colour variant trial proofs.
The Mill, Pendlebury by L.S. Lowry
Auctioned by Christie’s in London for £2.7 million (about RM14.6 million).
Fresh to the auction market after more than 70 years, this recently discovered painting by Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. captured the lion’s share of attention at Christie’s Modern British Art sale. Formerly the property of Dr Leonard D. Hamilton, who contributed to the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA (which earned the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine), the work was purchased directly from Lowry and remained under the radar for decades. It was conceived in 1943 and features an urban, industrial landscape in the northwest of England–although unusually for the artist, the scene is a happy one depicting a day of rest.