By Aaron Smith
The ultra-wealthy are paying mind-boggling prices for lots of bright, shiny objects this week, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on paintings, sculpture and jewelry in just the last few days.
Sotheby's said that the two-section 1963 diptych of silkscreen ink and silver spray paint was the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by Warhol. Altogether, the New York auction of contemporary art brought in more than $380 million for the auction house.
But that pales compared to the price paid earlier this week for a painting by Francis Bacon. On Tuesday, "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" brought in $142,405,000 at Christie's in New York. The three-section triptych, painted in 1969, is the most expensive work of art ever to be sold at auction, according to Christie's.
"Three Studies of Lucian Freud" By Francis Bacon: $142,405,000
Warhol and Bacon are both deceased, but Jeff Koons proved that artists don't have to be dead to pull in tens of millions for a single work. At the Christie's auction on Tuesday, his sculpture "Balloon Dog" fetched $58.4 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for a piece by a living artist.
"Balloon Dog" By Jeff Koons $58.4 million
While the wealthiest of the wealthy were feverishly bidding on art in New York, they were also snatching up jewelry in Switzerland. A collection of 50 Rolex Daytona watches brought in $13 million at a Christie's auction on Tuesday, with a single watch fetching more than $1 million.
50 Rolex watches: $13 million
In Geneva on Wednesday, Sotheby's auctioned off a hefty, 59.6-carat pink diamond for more than $83 million. The so-called "Pink Dream" brought in the highest price ever for a jewel at auction, according to Sotheby's.
60 carat pink diamond: $83 million
"It's an exuberant diamond," David Bennett of Sotheby's jewelry division told CNNMoney a few days before the auction. "It's like pink champagne. The only obvious limitation is that you have to have a certain amount of funds to consider buying it."
Move over Campbell's soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. Andy Warhol also drew the U.S. unemployment rate.
This Warhol rendition of the unemployment rate is on the auction block at Christie's, estimated to bring between $20,000 and $30,000. It documents the early 1980s recession, when the jobless rate rose from 6.3% in 1980 to as high as 10.8% in December 1982.
The piece is about 23 inches high by 31 inches wide and MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Jan 31, 2013 8:37 AM ET
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