Is Zimbabwe Ben a Distant Relative of Andy Warhol?
Only a blood relative of Zimbabwe Ben could figure out how to turn 200 $1 bills into $43.7 million dollars.
It was the sale of the season. When a seminal Warhol — one of the artist’s first silk-screen paintings — came on the block at Sotheby’s auction of contemporary art on Wednesday night, the auctioneer, Tobias Meyer, opened bidding at $6 million and was stunned when a bidder instantly doubled it.
The price rose at breakneck speed as five collectors vied for the classic image, “200 One Dollar Bills.” It ended up selling for $43.7 million (including fees to Sotheby’s), more than three times its high estimate of $12 million. The buyer, whom Sotheby’s refused to identify, bid by telephone through Bruno Vinciguerra, the company’s chief operating officer. Sotheby’s would also not identify the seller, although people familiar with the collection said it was Pauline Karpidas, a London-based collector.