See 15 Record-breaking Works from Sotheby’s Old Masters Blast

From Botticelli to to Brueghel, the sale kept knocking off top prices.

Sotheby’s London logged in their all time highest-earning Old Masters sale on Wednesday night with a final tally topping £68.3 million ($117.1 million). Fifty-one of the 63 lots sold for a by-volume sell-through rate of 81 percent. Ninety-five percent of lots sold for within or above their presale estimated prices.

The results were led by George StubbsTygers at Play (c. 1770-1775). The painting fell at a final price of £7,698,500 ($13,194,459) (all prices include buyer’s premium) on a £4–6 million presale estimate.

Following the sale, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, Henry Wyndam noted, “The key to unleashing the full potential of today’s market is to present such works with the right estimates in thoughtfully curated sales.”

The auction will perhaps best be remembered for the sheer number of artist records broken, however. Fifteen new all time highs were set for individual artists including Sandro Botticelli, Jan Brueghel, George Romney, Benedetto Gennari, and Raffaellino del Garbo, as well as two new records for artist collaborations and schools of Old Masters.

The Botticelli, which brought over £1.3 million, making it the most expensive work on paper by the Italian master ever to sell at auction, was particularly notable.  Study for a Seated St Joseph, his Head Resting on his Right Hand is the only drawing by the artist to have been seen on the open market since the 19th century and made over 25 times it’s previous result, $88,000, which was achieved at Sotheby’s New York in 1988.

See all the records in the slideshow above.

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