Entries in Sotheby's Auction House (3)


Rare Psalm Book Could Sell for $30 Million

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A rare psalm book from 1640 could fetch between $15 million to $30 million at a Sotheby’s auction on Nov. 26 in New York.

“It’s going to be far and away the most expensive book ever sold,” David Redden, vice chairman of Sotheby’s auction house, told ABC News.

The Bay Psalm Book, which is the first book printed in what is now the United States, comes from the Old South Church in Boston, one of two copies of the book in its collection.

“One copy, the copy we are keeping, was bequeathed to us by our fifth minister, the Reverend Thomas Prince,” Nancy Taylor, Old South Church’s senior minister and CEO, told ABC News.

Sotheby’s specialists compared the value the book to others auctioned in the past. “We have sold books as much as $11.5 million in the past, which are far less rare than this,” Redden said. The last Bay Psalm Book was bought at a Sotheby’s auction in 1947 for $151,000 by Yale University.

“One is so rare, no one could conceive of just owning one,” Redden said. “It’s the greatest rarity in the book world. Nothing is desirable as the Bay Psalm Book.”

Old South Church’s particular Bay Psalm Book is one of the best copies and in excellent condition, but what makes it incredibly sought after is its origin.

When the Bay Psalm Book was first printed, 1,700 copies were made, and few still survive. “It would literally have been used to pieces by the early Puritans,” Redden said.

While the Bay Psalm Book is not on everybody’s lips, Redden expects that many institutions, such as Princeton or the University of Texas, and private book collectors would desperately desire to have one.  However, he is certain that it will be an American buyer to win the auction.

“It’s a great story, the idea that in the middle of the wilderness, the first Americans were able to produce a quite elaborate book,” Redden said. “It’s the first American book made in America.”

Old South Church is hoping to use profits from the sale to help pay for building repairs and support its ministries. The church will maintain ownership of its other 2,000 rare books and manuscripts.

Sotheby’s plans to give people many opportunities to see the hymnal and will exhibit it widely before its November auction.

“For people in the book world, this is an earthquake,” Redden said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Andy Warhol’s "Double Elvis" Sells for $37 Million

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Andy Warhol’s “Double Elvis” sold for just over $37 million at auction at a Sotheby’s contemporary art sale in New York Wednesday night.

The silver silkscreen image of Presley depicted as a cowboy shooting from the hip sold for exactly $37,042,500.  It had been expected to sell in the range of $30-$50 million.

The painting, which was first displayed in Los Angeles’ Ferus Gallery in 1963, was sold by a private collector living in the U.S., who acquired it in 1977.

According to Sotheby’s, this is the first “Double Elvis” to appear on the market since 1995.  Warhol created 22 images of Elvis, with nine of them currently in museum collections and the others in private collections.

The most expensive Warhol ever sold went for $71.7 million in 2007 when Christie’s auctioned off his “Green Car Crash -- Green Burning Car I.”

The contemporary art auction also included Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sleeping Girl” and Francis Bacon’s “Figure Writing Reflected In Mirror,” which sold for $44,882,500 and $44,882,500, respectively.

The auction comes less than a week after after Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” sold for $119.9 million, an auction record.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Murdoch to Step Down from Board of Sotheby's Auction House 

Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images (LONDON) -- News Corp. deputy chief operating officer James Murdoch will leave the board of Sotheby's auction house, Bloomberg News reports.

Murdoch's departure follows demands that he resign over his role in the U.K. phone-hacking scandal and is set to take place on May 8.

The 39-year-old son of billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch already resigned from the board of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and from his position as executive chairman of News Corp.’s News International publishing unit earlier this year.

Investors are also calling for him to leave as the chairman of British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc. and from the board of News Corp.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio