Andy Warhol’s Money-Covered Hat Could Be Yours for $1.2 Million

The hat was a 30th birthday gift to Dr. Robert Giller.

Halston and Andy Warhol, 1979.
Image: Courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum

In 1972, at the height of his prominence, Andy Warhol adorned a black straw Halston hat with a band of $10 bills, creating a unique objet d’art that personified the devil-may-care attitude of the moment. The hat was presented as a present to the artist’s friend and confidante Dr. Robert Giller on the occasion of his 30th birthday.

Unknown by most Warhol scholars and never displayed to the public before this year, the hat, incredibly, has resurfaced. It will hit the auction block at Nye and Company Auctioneers/Appraisers of Bloomfield, New Jersey on November 11, 2015. It is being consigned by Giller’s widow and is estimated between $800,000–$1,200,000.

Other unusual Warhol items to hit the auction block of late include the artist’s signed lease for his first studio, and a Coco Chanel portrait of suspect authenticity that brought in $247,000 at Mississippi auction house Stevens in September.

Andy Warhol's money hat. Photo: Courtesy Nye & Company.

Andy Warhol’s money hat.
Photo: Courtesy Nye & Company.

Giller, a Dr. Feelgood-type known for treating Halston and his celebrity friends, with, among other things, vitamin injections, can be seen wearing the hat in the 1979 book Andy Warhol’s Exposures, which features celebrity photos taken by Warhol on his ever-present Kodak TX-36. Giller’s copy of the book, autographed and inscribed “To Doc/Love, Andy” is also part of the lot. One of the bills on the hat also bears Warhol’s signature.

In his book, Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up, writer and Warhol pal Bob Colacello writes of an encounter with Giller:

[Andy told me] I should go see Dr. Robert Giller, Halston’s physician. I did run into Dr. Giller not long afterward at one of Halston’s late-night bashes, and he told me he could cure me in a month with a megadose of vitamins. As he headed to 54 with the rest of the crowd, and I headed home, something told me to stick with my own doctor.

Dr. Giller in the hat. Photo: Courtesy Nye & Co.

Robert Giller in the hat.
Photo: Courtesy Nye & Co.

Giller was also likely among the hard-partying crowd who stayed at Warhol’s storied Montauk estate, which hosted the likes of Halston, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Rolling Stones, and was recently purchased by gallerist and collector Adam Lindemann.

The hat will be available for bidding both online and in person beginning at 1:11 pm on November 11, 2015.


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