Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Beauty, Desire, Art and Valuation

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

andy the factory founderLast year, the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 car driven by Juan Manuel Fangio (W-196R) was sold at auction for the fantastic sum of $29,650,095.00 - thats almost 30 BIG ONES! It's not the record though; that belongs to a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO. You could probably purchase this year's alottment of Audi RS7's in North America for that amount of money, fer cryin' out loud.

Availability, authenticity, rarity and history will decide what any one very wealthy individual is willing to pay, but surely, possessing a unique (aka only one on the planet) object can help explain the big numbers when stuff goes to auction. So it is with the W196 that sold at Goodwood, it is the only version of the racer in private hands. The owner might as well be Tony Stark, and who can blame the real owner for wanting anonimity and protecting his/her privacy. Who wants to bet that Pepper Potts bought the car?

Switch speeds for a second now and take a look at the Warhol silkscreen (commissioned by Mercedes) up above. This piece of art sold two weeks ago at auction  for $13,045,00.00 - it is entitled "Mercedes-Benz W196R Grand Prix Car (Steamlined Version,1954)". It measures about 13' x 15' and like the entirely real racing car - it is rare. Andy Warhol passed away before the project was completed. So there you have it - a piece of art that, in the simplest of  terms, was sold for $450.00 per square inch tells us nothing about why we want beautiful unique things. Give me an RS7 and I'll tell you why in about 3.7 seconds.

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