Long-Lost Da Vinci Painting Fetches Historic $450 Million, Obliterating Records


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Long-Lost Da Vinci Painting Fetches Historic $450 Million, Obliterating Records

Long-Lost Da Vinci Painting Fetches Historic $450 Million, Obliterating Records

A long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting, which depicts Jesus Christ, sold at auction for more than $450 million on Nov. 15, 2017.

Credit: Leonardo da Vinci

A painting by Leonardo da Vinci that preserves the artist’s own handprints sold for more than $450 million at auction tonight (Nov. 15), “obliterating the previous world record for the most expensive work of art at auction,” according to Christie’s Auction House.

Christie’s presented the painting, which depicts Jesus Christ holding up one hand in blessing while cradling a crystal orb in the other, at a sale in New York this evening. The auction house guaranteed the painting at $100 million, meaning it would pay the difference if bidders didn’t reach that level; last time the painting sold, in 2014, it went for $127.5 million. Tonight, the bidding lasted about 20 minutes and boiled down to two bidders, with the numbers already soaring past the guaranteed amount.

“Gasps were heard in the saleroom, which gave way to applause when Christie’s co-chairman Alex Rotter made the winning bid for a client on the phone,” according to a statement from Christie’s. The final sale: $450,312,500 (including buyer’s premium).

At one time, though, the very same painting went for a song — in 1958, it sold for a mere 45 British pounds, which is the equivalent of 990.50 pounds ($1,304) today. That’s because it wasn’t until the late 2000s that anyone realized the painting was a da Vinci. [Leonardo Da Vinci’s 10 Best Ideas]

Art experts now estimate that the painting — titled “Salvator Mundi,” or “Savior of the World” — was made around 1500. But between the mid-1600s and 2005, this piece of da Vinci’s work was lost. The painting now known to be his was thought to be a copy by one of his students, and it was heavily damaged by crude attempts at conservation.

"Salvator Mundi" by Leonardo da Vinci.
“Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci.

Credit: Leonardo da Vinci

According to Christie’s, the reconstructed history of the painting goes something like this: da Vinci painted it around 1500, leaving behind a few sketches by his hand that tie him to the imagery. At some point, Charles I of England, a great art collector, acquired the piece. It probably hung in his wife’s chambers. Charles I was executed in 1649 after a civil war between the Royalists and the English and Scottish parliaments, which were seeking to curb the monarchy’s power. The artwork was sold in October 1951 to a mason named John Stone. [11 Hidden Secrets in Famous Works of Art]

Stone kept the painting until 1660, when Charles I’s son Charles II returned from exile to retake the English throne. (The intervening years had been a short-lived experiment in republican government run by Oliver Cromwell.) Stone then returned the da Vinci to the new king. Its path then becomes murky. It probably stayed at the Palace of Whitehall in London until the late 1700s, passing from Charles II’s possession to his brother James II, when that monarch took the throne, according to Christie’s. No one knows what happened next. The painting disappears from the historical record until 1900, when it was sold not as a da Vinci but as a work of Bernardino Luini, one of the great master’s students.

The painting bounced from hand to hand, including in the 1958 auction, when it sold for not much more than what people pay for an iPhone X today. It wasn’t until after 2005, when the painting appeared in an auction of a U.S. estate, that anyone realized what it really was.

After that sale, in 2007, conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini, of New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, launched a project to restore the painting, removing clumsy dollops of paint that people had put on the wood panel to disguise chips and restoring ugly attempts to patch a crack in the wood. According to Christie’s, while the background of the painting has almost entirely sloughed away, the rendering of Christ’s hands, hair and clothing are well-preserved, and tiny inclusions and specks painted into the crystal orb are still visible.

Once the ugly layers of overpainting and resins were removed, Modestini realized the painting might not be a copy of da Vinci’s work after all, according to a 2011 article by ArtNews. Experts from around the world examined it, and soon everyone agreed: The painting was the real thing. In 2011, the painting was unveiled as a real da Vinci at an exhibit at The National Gallery in London.

Christ’s skin tone is blended with a technique called sfumato, in which the artist presses the heel of his hand into the paint to blur it. Infrared imaging of the painting revealed that these handprints are still pressed into the paint, particularly on the left side of the forehead.

The painting was sold for $80 million in 2013 to Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier, who then sold it for $127.5 million the following year to Russian investor Dmitry Rybolovlev. The markup led to a viscious legal battle between Rybolovlev and Bouvier. Rybolovlev is now being investigated in Monaco over whether he improperly used his political clout against Bouvier in that dispute, The Guardian recently reported. Rybolovlev’s name has also surfaced in the ongoing investigation about potential links between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, according to The Guardian, as Rybolovlev once bought a Florida property from Trump for $95 million.

The previous record-holder for the priciest “old master” painting was “Massacre of the Innocents” by Peter Paul Rubens, which sold for $76.7 million in 2002, according to Christie’s. The previous record-holder for the most expensive da Vinci was his “Horse and Rider,” which sold for $11,481,865 at Christie’s in 2001.

Original article on Live Science

 

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55-Carat Diamond Dazzles at NYC Museum


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55-Carat Diamond Dazzles at NYC Museum

Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer
Date: 10 July 2013 Time: 07:07 PM ET
The stunning Kimberley diamond was found at a mine in Kimberley, South Africa.
CREDIT: ©AMNH\D. Finnin

The dazzling 55-carat Kimberley Diamond makes its debut at the American Museum of Natural History in New York Thursday (July 11).

The champagne-colored “cape diamond” was originally cut from a 490-carat stone found sometime before 1868 in theKimberley Mine in South Africa. (A carat is a unit of weight equivalent to about a fifth of a gram, or about 0.007 ounces.) The diamond was later cut to 70 carats in 1921, and cut to its stunning present form in 1958.

The diamond, which is on loan from the Bruce F. Stuart Trust, is about 1.25 inches (3.2 cm), and virtually flawless, said exhibit curator George Harlow. The original diamond was fairly large, but there aren’t many descriptions of it, so its history isn’t well-known, Harlow told LiveScience. [Sinister Sparkle Gallery: 13 Mysterious & Cursed Gemstones]

Diamond is a form of carbon that is less stable than graphite, but stable at high pressures.

Most diamonds probably form underneath continents, but the process is somewhat mysterious. Carbon-containing fluids are thought to seep out of the deep mantle (the viscous layer between the Earth’s crust and core), and enter the lithosphere (the outermost rocky layer). There, a chemical reaction turns them into diamond.

“You’re talking on the order of 100 kilometers (62 miles) or more down into the Earth,” Harlow said.

Most diamonds are also very old, Harlow said. Using radioactive dating of minerals trapped inside the gems, scientists can determine their age. This diamond doesn’t contain the telltale radioactive minerals, so scientists don’t know exactly how old it is. But many diamonds from the same area are about 2 billion years old, Harlow said.

In order for the diamond to survive at the Earth’s surface, it has to get there fast. The precious stones hitch a speedy ride on magma. The magma starts out very deep and moves toward the surface at 22 to 25 mph (35-40 km/h). During a volcanic eruption, the magma creates little bubbles, “like champagne,” Harlow explained, adding that the debris can reach a speed of Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound).

“If you were there, you would see the most impressive explosion, then immediately be dead because of the shock wave,” Harlow said.

Diamonds were first found in rivers, where people were looking for gold. Dense minerals tend to collect in the bottoms of rivers, streams and beaches, Harlow said. In the 1870s, people found diamonds in rivers in South Africa. They followed the river upstream and found a gray-blue rock, or “blue ground.” This blue ground contained diamond, and because they were found in Kimberley, South Africa, they were called kimberlite.

A gem the size of the Kimberley diamond would not survive in modern mining techniques, Harlow said — it would be crushed during processing.

Even the diamond’s current size of 55 carats is fairly large. “It would have been a bit of a bonker on a ring,” Harlow said.

Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescienceFacebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

 

Shine On: Photos of Dazzling Mineral Specimens


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Shine On: Photos of Dazzling Mineral Specimens

LiveScience Staff
Date: 14 May 2013 Time: 10:35 AM ET
The Snow Angel
The Snow Angel
Credit: Heritage Auctions
This mineral beauty, dubbed the “snow angel,” was discovered during the digging of a well in India. The specimen is a silicate mineral called apophyllite-(KF), which appears in volcanic rocks. The snow angel is one of dozens of gorgeous minerals up for auction June 2, 2013.
Gold Sculpture
Gold Sculpture
Credit: Heritage Auctions
The opening bid on this natural gold “sculpture” is $15,000. This specimen comes from the Eagle’s Nest Mine in Placer Co., Calif.
Linarite
Linarite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
A specimen of a copper mineral called linarite contains unusual large crystals and could, conceivably, fetch more than $100,000 at auction, according to the auction house. All of the proceeds from the sale go to benefit Dallas’s new Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Tourmaline
Tourmaline
Credit: Heritage Auctions
This 16-inch (40 cm) tourmaline goes up for auction June 2, 2013 with a starting bid of $30,000. Tourmalines are boron silicate minerals that get their rainbow-like colors from various elements such as iron, sodium or magnesium. This specimen comes from Brazil.
Cumengeite Crystal
Cumengeite Crystal
Credit: Heritage Auctions
Tiny but super-rare, this cumengeite crystal perches on a throne of brecca, or broken-up rock and mineral naturally cemented together. Cumengeite is closely related to boleite, which forms cubes of a similar blue hue and is found in lead and copper deposits. This cumengeite measures just a centimeter across and comes from Mexico.
Stibnite Swords
Stibnite Swords
Credit: Heritage Auctions
This stibnite “swords” are made of the elements antimony and sulfur and are up for auction on June 2, 2013 with an opening bid of $32,500. This frozen firework of a mineral was found in the Lushi Mine in Henan, China and measures 9 by 10 by 4 inches (23 by 25 by 10 cm).
Rhodochrosite
Rhodochrosite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
These stunning red rhodochrosite crystals are made of manganese carbonate. The largest of the crystals measure about an inch (2.5 cm) in length.
Opal Egg
Opal Egg
Credit: Heritage Auctions
The smooth egg shape of this specimen isn’t natural, but the rainbow-colored opal vein inside is. This specimen was mined in 1985 in Oregon. The brown areas are rhyolite, a volcanic, igneous rock. Opals are made from silica (the same stuff as sand or quartz), but are infused with water molecules. The arrangement of the silica diffracts light, causing opal’s multicolored sheen.
Cubanite
Cubanite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
Copper, iron and sulfur combine to make cubanite. This specimen, up for auction June 2, 2013, may be the largest cubanite crystal on record at 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) across. This cubanite was discovered in a copper mine in Quebec, Canada.
Wulfenite
Wulfenite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
The buyer of this wulfenite crystal (starting bid: $10,000) will also get a complete history of the specimen since discovery. Found in Mexico and first bought for $40, the chunk of wulfenite was owned by some of the early luminaries of the mineral business, according to Heritage Auctions. These crystals are made from lead, molybdenum and oxygen.
Strontianite
Strontianite
Credit: Heritage Auctions
Delicate strontianite crystals top a Sphalerite (zinc ore) in this specimen from Hardin Co., Ill. Strontianite is made of the element strontium mixed with carbon and oxygen. Yellow and blue cubes of fluorite add a flourish to this otherwise black-and-white bit of geological art.
La Madona Rosa
La Madona Rosa
Credit: Heritage Auctions
“La Madona Rosa,” a rose quartz specimen from Brazil, gets its name from a supposed resemblance to the Virgin Mary. Mary’s body is formed out of smoky quartz with a halo of pink rose quartz outlining her. This sparkling beauty stands 15.5 inches (39 cm) tall, taller than other known rose quartz specimens. Quarz is made from silica, and titanium, manganese or iron lend rose quartz its pink hue. Smoky quartz’s color comes from free silicon in the mineral. The starting bid for La Madona Rosa is $100,000.

Chinese bowl sells for record-breaking sum


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Chinese bowl sells for record-breaking sum

A red bowl with a lotus pattern broke the world record for Chinese Kangxi ceramics on Apr. 8, fetching over $9 million after a bidding war won by a Hong Kong ceramics dealer at the last day of spring sales for global auctioneer Sotheby’s.
Security guards chat in front of a light box featuring a photograph of a magnificent Ruby-Ground Falangcai “Double-Lotus” Bowl Blue Enamel Yuzhi Mark and Period of Kangxi at Sotheby’s Spring Sales in Hong Kong April 8, 2013. Sotheby’s said in a press release Hong Kong Chinese ceramics dealer Wiliam Chak has bought the bowl for HK$74 million ($9.5 million) on Monday, setting a world auction record for Qing Kangxi porcelain. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (CHINA – Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)
A magnificent Ruby-Ground Falangcai “Double-Lotus” Bowl Blue Enamel Yuzhi Mark and Period of Kangxi is shown after Hong Kong Chinese ceramics dealer William Chak has bought it for HK$74 million ($9.5 million) at Sotheby’s Spring Sales in Hong Kong April 8, 2013. Sotheby’s said in a press release the deal set a world auction record for Qing Kangxi porcelain. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (CHINA – Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)
Hong Kong Chinese ceramics dealer William Chak poses with a magnificent Ruby-Ground Falangcai “Double-Lotus” Bowl Blue Enamel Yuzhi Mark and Period of Kangxi, after he bought it for HK$74 million (US$9.5 million) at Sotheby’s Spring Sales in Hong Kong April 8, 2013. Sotheby’s said in a press release the deal set a world auction record for Qing Kangxi porcelain. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (CHINA – Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)

Singing bird PISTOLS- Amazing


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Source  : Ben Draper – Canada

Ben April 2012

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Singing bird PISTOLS- Amazing

 

Simply incredible …you have to hang in there for a minute before you see what this is all about. Amazing.

This is a short video on a pair of 200+ year-old mechanical singing bird pistols;whether or not you are an antique gun aficionado, you’ll be glad you took a moment to   watch. They are like great paintings. .. . only on a much grander scale.  These pistols sold for $5.8 million

 


                        http://www.christies.com/features/singing-bird-pistols-en-1422-3.aspx

 

10,000 diamonds on display at Buckingham Palace


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10,000 diamonds on display at Buckingham Palace

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/10-000-diamonds-on-display-at-buckingham-palace-slideshow/

 

More than 10,000 of the gems are going on display at Buckingham Palace in a celebration of jewelry owned by British monarchs over three centuries. The exhibition includes a coronation necklace and other gems worn by Queen Elizabeth II as well as items from the royal collection, including the miniature crown adorned with 1,187 diamonds worn by Queen Victoria for her 1897 Diamond Jubilee.

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with Queen Victoria's Small Diamond Crown at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London, in this file photograph dated May 15, 2012. More than 10,000 diamonds go on show at London’s Buckingham Palace this week to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne, in a dazzling display of gems gathered over the centuries as objects of beauty and symbols of power. The exhibition, which runs from June 30 to July 8 and then from July 31 to Oct. 7, was designed to coincide with the queen’s diamond jubilee this year, and features jewels she wears regularly at official functions in Britain and abroad. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/files (BRITAIN – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SOCIETY)

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan VII necklace at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan VII necklace at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London May 15, 2012. A special exhibition “Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration” will run from June 30 – July 8 and July 31 – October 7, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee anniversary. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SOCIETY)

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan III and IV brooch at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan III and IV brooch at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London, in this file photograph dated May 15, 2012. More than 10,000 diamonds go on show at London’s Buckingham Palace this week to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne, in a dazzling display of gems gathered over the centuries as objects of beauty and symbols of power. The exhibition, which runs from June 30 to July 8 and then from July 31 to Oct. 7, was designed to coincide with the queen’s diamond jubilee this year, and features jewels she wears regularly at official functions in Britain and abroad. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/files (BRITAIN – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SOCIETY)

This Thursday June 28, 2012 photo shows curator Caroline de Guitaut, holding the Delhi Durbar Tiara, on show for the first time and made to mark the succession of King George V as King Emperor in 1911

This Thursday June 28, 2012 photo shows curator Caroline de Guitaut, holding the Delhi Durbar Tiara, on show for the first time and made to mark the succession of King George V as King Emperor in 1911, at a new exhibition at Buckingham Palace, London. The new exhibition at Buckingham Palace shows jewels collected by six monarchs over three centuries to mark the Queen’s Diamond jubilee this summer. (AP Photo/Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire) UNITED KINGDOM OUT

This Thursday June 28, 2012 photo shows curator Caroline de Guitaut, standing behind the Delhi Durbar Necklace and Cullinan Pendant made up of diamonds and emeralds, created for the Delhi Durbar of 19

This Thursday June 28, 2012 photo shows curator Caroline de Guitaut, standing behind the Delhi Durbar Necklace and Cullinan Pendant made up of diamonds and emeralds, created for the Delhi Durbar of 1911 and owned by Queen Mary, at a new exhibition at Buckingham Palace, London. The new exhibition at Buckingham Palace shows jewels collected by six monarchs over three centuries to mark the Queen’s Diamond jubilee this summer. (AP Photo/Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire) UNITED KINGDOM OUT

The Queen wears the Diadem crown in May. The crown will be on display as part of the exhibition at Buckingham Palace

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is pictured wearing the Diadem crown at the opening of Parliament in May. More than 10,000 diamonds set in works worn by British monarchs for over 250 years will go on show at London’s Buckingham Palace this summer to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee. The exhibition includes a range of the queen’s personal jewels, including the Diadem crown. (AFP Photo/SUZANNE PLUNKETT)

Rare 1792 penny sells for $1.15M


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Rare 1792 penny sells for $1.15M

The unusual coin was auctioned off Apr. 19 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago.

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/rare-1792-penny-sells-for-1-15m-1334938827-slideshow/rare-penny-photo-1334938707.html

Rare penny

A 1792 Silver Center Cent is shown on April 18, 2012 in Schaumburg, Illinois. The coin is scheduled to be auctioned by Heritage Auctions on April 19. Online bidding for the coin has already pushed the price over $1 million. The coin, considered the third best example of fourteen known to exist, was last sold at auction in 1974 when it reached a price of $105,000.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)