The famous portrait by Velasquez of his assistant which was sold in November for a record-making 2,310,000 Pounds Sterling capped 1970 as a year of major action sales.
GV INT. film studio with articles from auction on display
CU PAN, Clark Gable's shoes and raincoat with nametag and lot number
CU Garbo's dress with tag
GV New York auction room with Van Gogh painting on display (2 shots)
SCU auctioneer sells painting for 1,300,000 Dollars, PAN to audience applauding
CU British Guiana one cent stamp
GV PAN auction room
CU PAN auctioneer sells stamp for 280,000 Dollars, PAN to audience applauding
GV & SV hotel Richemond with Christie's sign outside
GV & SV Int. auctioneer facing audience
SUC model wearing tiara
CU model wears earrings
GV Andy Warhol painting
GV Ext. Christie's auction rooms
SV & CU Velasquez painting being auctioned.
SV painting sold 2,200,000 Guineas, ZOOM out to audience applauds.
GV London street
SV & CU Int. auctioneer and podium
SV audience watch as auctioneer sells his rostrum.
Initials JH/MR/VH/1624 JH/MR/PS/1745
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Background: The famous portrait by Velasquez of his assistant which was sold in November for a record-making 2,310,000 Pounds Sterling capped 1970 as a year of major action sales. The painting, sold in London to an American art dealer, has since become the centre of controversy as attempts are being made to halt the work as removal to the United States. They year has also seen the sale of the world's rarest stamp, a collection of motion picture props, a selection of jewels and even an auctioneer's own rostrum.
The auction year began in New York in February, when one of Vincent Van Gogh's most famous paintings fetched a top price of 1,300,000 U.S. Dollars (about 541,900 Pounds Sterling). The painting, "Le Cypres et L'Arbre en Fleurs", painted in 1889, went for a price that was among the highest ever paid for a single work of art.
Until the Velasquez painting went under the hammer in November, the highest-ever price paid for a single painting was 821,482 Pounds Sterling for Rembrandt's work of "Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer", sold in 1961.
A world record sum was paid in March, also in New York, for the world's rarest postage stamp. The British Guiana one cent changed hands for the sum of 280,000 U.S. Dollars (116,000 Pounds Sterling). The American purchaser later said he was bidding on behalf of a group of investors for the stamp which was issued in 1856.
The octagonal stamp, believed to be the only one of its kind in existence, was discovered by a schoolboy in 1873 and changed hands for only six shillings.
In April, the sale of jewellery in Geneva brought in the total sum of 1,331,114 Pounds Sterling -- a world record for a jewellery auction. The top price of 209,253 Pounds Sterling was paid for a pair of diamond pendant earrings which were said to have once belonged to a former princess of Iran. Massive sums also changed hands with the sale of a diadem which once belonged to the sister of Napoleon the First. According to family tradition, the Emperor gave it to her himself.
The dwindling fortunes of the American film industry caused Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer -- perhaps the most prolific glamour factory of them all -- to auction large quantities of film sets to the public as an economy measure. Thousands of costumes, many made famous for all time on the screen, went under the hammer along with large sections of film lots and props including a Mississippi River stern-wheeler boat. Among the costumes up for auction were Clark Gable's raincoat and the clothes worn by Greta Garbo in "Queen Christiana".
"Pop" art went under the hammer at a New York auction in May. The highest price went for Andy Warhol's painting entitled "Campbell soup Can with Peeling Label". It fetched about 24,000 Pounds Sterling.
The work by Velasquez, entitled "Portrait of Jean de Pareja", is of the artist's assistant. It is believed to have been painted in 1649. When it was known that the buyer planned to take the painting to the United States, a campaign was begun to buy the painting so that it could remain in Britain. The campaigners hope to raise the money either by government grant or public subscription.
1970 also saw one of the more unique auctions -- in December, a London auctioneer sold the very rostrum from which he worked. The firm was moving out of the city. The rostrum finally fetched 230 Pounds Sterling.