Elton John’s Kitchen Sink Auction Sees Banksy Sell For $1.9m


Elton John’s “Goodbye Peachtree Road” auction at Christie’s NY witnessed an unprecedented surge in interest as more than 3,500 bidders from 34 countries clamoured for his cherished possessions. This is the third time Elton has publicly sold off his collections. He auctioned objects ranging from a Magritte painting to a pair of brass palm tree lamps at Sotheby’s in 1988 and 2003.

The highlight of Wednesday’s auction was the sale of a Banksy triptych for $1.9 million, featuring a masked figure hurling a bouquet of flowers resembling a Molotov cocktail. A Keith Haring painting depicting a television for $530k, an Andreas Gursky for $301k, A Grayson Perry vase sold for $38k, and a photo by Robert Maplethorpe for $89k. Similarly, an artwork by British duo Gilbert & George depicting plants fetched $189,000, a mere $3,000 increase from its 2005 auction price. Notably, Robert Frank’s “Charleston, South Carolina, 1955,” estimated at $150,000 to $250,000, failed to secure a buyer during Friday’s auction session.

The renowned musician’s rocket-shaped cocktail shakers, ornate jumpsuits, and black-and-white fashion photography captivated enthusiasts worldwide. The two-day event, showcasing around 900 items collected over decades by Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, proved to be a resounding success, fetching a staggering $14.4 million in sales, exceeding the high estimate of $11.3 million.

The auction saw fierce bidding wars over iconic memorabilia, including silver leather platform boots worn by the singer throughout the 1970s, which sold for $94,000, and an 18-karat gold Rolex watch with a leopard-print dial fetched $176,400. The enthusiasm for Elton John’s possessions extended to online sales scheduled through Feb. 28, with the collection already surpassing the initial estimate of $10 million.

The ambience at Christie’s Rockefeller Center salesroom on Wednesday night was electric, with Elton John hits resonating as guests eagerly vied for prized items. A neon sign spelling out “Horny?!” designed by photographer David LaChapelle, estimated initially at $1,500, sold for $26,450, while a set of ruby-coloured Versace porcelain dinnerware fetched $55,440. Notably, John’s black 1990 Bentley Continental two-door convertible commanded an impressive $441,000.

Elton John’s decision to downsize stems from a desire to spend more time with his family, as articulated by his husband, David Furnish. The couple’s recent sale of their Atlanta condominium for $7.2 million reflects this commitment. The auction’s success raises questions about the enduring appeal of celebrity collectables, with notable precedents including Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s library and Freddie Mercury’s belongings fetching significant sums in recent years.

While some fine art and photography work experienced tepid demand, objects associated with John’s public persona as a performer and style icon emerged as the most coveted. Corey Shapiro, founder of Vintage Frames Co., flew from Montreal to acquire John’s prescription sunglasses, symbolic of the musician’s legendary style. Shapiro’s enthusiasm underscores the enduring impact of Elton John’s persona beyond the realm of music.

Elton John’s auction at Christie’s is undoubtedly a symbol of his enduring legacy and influence, captivating bidders with a dazzling array of memorabilia and personal artefacts embodying his extraordinary career and cultural significance.\

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