Golden day for col­lec­tors at Sotheby’s

Houston Chronicle - - BUSINESS -

Gold bugs have taken their lumps this year, but col­lec­tors may fare bet­ter at a Sotheby’s auc­tion next week in Lon­don.

A life­size bust of su­per­model Kate Moss, a 1977 Fer­rari 512 Ber­linetta Boxer and an arm­chair from France’s Tui­leries Palace will be a few of the items avail­able at the firm’s gold-themed Wednesday sale.

Dubbed “The Mi­das Touch,” it marks Sotheby’s first event ded­i­cated solely to ob­jects as­so­ci­ated with the pre­cious metal. The New York-based auc­tion­eer has seen grow­ing de­mand for gold items, said head of sales Con­stan­tine Fran­gos, even as the metal’s mar­ket price has slumped this year.

“We’re not fo­cus­ing too much on the price of gold,” Fran­gos said dur­ing a pre­view Fri­day of the 63 lots for sale at the firm’s May­fair auc­tion house. “We’re look­ing at these items as pieces of art.”

While Sotheby’s ex­pects the golden sculp­ture of Moss’s head to sell for as much as $515,000, the most ex­pen­sive item is a rec­tan­gu­lar gold panel by post­war French artist Yves Klein. The work — at 9-by-6 inches — is es­ti­mated at as much as $1.6 mil­lion.

Sotheby’s at­tracted in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion last week af­ter a Banksy paint­ing, “Girl with Bal­loon,” mys­te­ri­ously shred­ded mo­ments af­ter it was auc­tioned for ($1.37 mil­lion. The anony­mous buyer, a fe­male col­lec­tor from Europe, plans to keep the work, which will be re­named “Love is in the Bin,” Sotheby’s said Thurs­day in a state­ment.

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