Record-breaking Auction Sales


Nov 20, 2014 by British Blog

If you happen to have a gold watch made by Patek Philippe hanging around in your attic, now may be a good time for you to dust it off and give it a polish, because that brand seems to be rather popular at the moment. On 11th November 2014, one such watch sold for a staggering $24 million at an auction in Geneva, Switzerland - breaking the previous record auction price for a timepiece, which was set 15 years earlier by the very same watch.

We know that Swiss manufacturer Patek Philippe made the watch in question in the 1930s for a New York banker called Henry Graves, but this time around, both seller and buyer chose to remain anonymous. The watch, which smashed its pre-sale estimate price of around $15.5 million, is known as The Henry Graves Supercomplication, since it was for many decades the most complex watch in existence, with 24 horological functions. It took three years of research and five years of production to create it.

Most people realise that quality watches can make a fortune at auction, but they are by no means the only products to get the tills ringing. In fact, some other auction records make $24 million look like a bargain.



The most expensive painting ever sold is Paul Cezanne's work 'The Card Players', but this was sold via private sale, not auction, so the details are a little hazy. However, it is known that the price paid was somewhere between $250-300 million, and that the picture went to Qatar.

The priciest painting ever sold at an auction is by the British artist Francis Bacon, and entitled 'Three Studies of Lucien Freud'. That work sold for $142.4 million at Christie's in New York in November, 2013. The sum involved is, of course, an awful lot of money but for high-profile art it is relatively affordable: private sales have been known to fetch sums far in excess of that, as the Cezanne sale demonstrates.



Like paintings, cars are often sold via private deals and the prices paid in such cases are frequently higher than at auction. Interestingly, both the most expensive car ever sold (via private sale) and the most expensive car ever sold at auction, are both examples of the same type, namely the Ferrari 250 GTO.

Of these, the most expensive car ever sold was a 1963 model, which went for $52 million in a private sale. The world's most expensive car at auction was a 1962 model Ferrari 250 GTO that was sold by Bonhams for just over $38 million, having been in the previous owner's family since 1965.

So, what is it about the Ferrari 250 GTO? Well, of course it helps that it is a fantastic car but also key is the fact that only 39 were ever made.

If you happen not to have expensive watches, cars and paintings do not despair: there are other items that do well at auctions. These include diamonds (record price $46 million, for the Graff pink diamond) and even sherry (record price for a single bottle, just over $43 million). Perhaps it's time to have a look around in the attic, then?