Buyers Go Wild at Christie’s Elton John Sale, Led by a $1.9-Million Banksy

Artworks, a Bentley, and the rockstar’s inimitable fashions attracted fevered bidding from around the globe.

Banksy, Flower Thrower Triptych, 2017. Courtesy Christie's.

Christie’s New York sold almost every lot in the opening auction of 49 artworks and objects from the collection of superstar musician Elton John on Wednesday evening, achieving an $8 million total, doubling the house’s presale estimate. Bidders hailed from some 34 countries, and the sale attracted the attention of plenty of new customers: fully 40 percent of bidders and buyers were new to the house. One lot, a Damien Hirst, was retained by the consignor after the sale.

The priciest lot of the evening was a Banksy, Flower Thrower Triptych (2017), which the musician bought directly from the artist and which fetched $1.9 million against a high estimate of $1.5 million (sale prices include the house’s fees; presale estimates do not). An untitled small Keith Haring painting of a smiling face with three eyes from 1982 sold for $756,000 against a high estimate of $500,000. Also included were works by William Klein, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mapplethorpe, Herb Ritts, Julian Schnabel, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol, among others.

But the sale wasn’t confined to the musician’s art collection. His 1990 Bentley Continental, a car that he brought with him on his international travels, attracted 24 contestants, who bid it up from a low estimate of $25,000 to a final price of some $441,000.

A luminous Keith Haring canvas, which was included in Christie's Elton John sale.

Keith Haring, Untitled (1982). Courtesy Christie’s.

Three watches all sold well, achieving at least three times their low estimates. A signed Cartier, Paris, Tank Normale went for $176,400, almost nine times the low estimate of $20,000, setting a record for the model.

Clothing, jewelry, and other accessories of Sir Elton’s, reflecting his inimitable style, also far outperformed estimates. A pair of silver leather platform boots sporting the letters E and J went for 19 times their low estimate to sell for $94,500, while a Versace (Rosenthal) porcelain Medusa Red table service sold for $55,440 against a low estimate of $4,000.

“The view from the rostrum this evening was fantastic; with an incredible energy in the room and outstanding activity online,” said Tash Perrin, deputy chairman for Christie’s Americas, in a press release. “It was a privilege to auction Elton John’s inspiring collection. We were thrilled with the results of tonight’s top lot: the Banksy Flower Thrower Triptych which exceeded the high estimate. We were also delighted to see so many lots far surpassing their high estimate with objects ranging from a Versace dinner service set to EJ monogrammed boots. We could not be more excited as we embark on the Day Sales beginning tomorrow morning.”

Online sales remain open through February 28.

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