Christie’s global auction of the best of the best in decorative and applied arts, singular works of historic importance, and iconic objects of pop culture – totalled $5,589,240, selling 133% hammer above low estimate, with bidding from around the globe. The top lot was ‘The Arizona Spike,’ of steel clad in gold and silver, made in 1869 to commemorate the completion of the world’s first Transcontinental Railroad, which went 740% of its estimate to bring $2,200,000.
Other highlights included: a Louis XVI parcel-gilt and grey-painted canape, circa 1785, which realized: $529,2000; a German royal silver-gilt tea and coffee service made for the wedding of Prince Wilhelm I of Prussia, which brought $441,000; a Roman cameo dating to 41-54 BC, formerly in the collection of the 4th Duke of Marlborough, which made $352,800; an important Ascot trophy sponsored by Tsar Nicholas II, which brought $302,400; and original 16mm reels from Andy Warhol’s 1968 film Lonesome Cowboys, a screening of which sparked the Atlanta raid known as the “Stonewall of the South,” which made $25,200.
Christie’s International Specialist Head of European Furniture and Works of Art, Casey Rogers, said, “‘We are thrilled with the overwhelming response and depth of bidding in the Exceptional Sale, which demonstrate the market’s robust appetite for masterpiece-level decorative arts and historically significant objects with storied provenance. Look no further than the thrilling results for the Transcontinental Railroad spike, which Christie’s was honored to offer on behalf of the Museum of the City of New York.”
Christie’s Senior Specialist, Americana, Peter Klarnet, said, “The spike was a one-of-a-kind piece of historic importance and we knew it would by the subject of intense competition among collectors. In the end, the value soared past our expectations. I think the spike captured the imagination of collectors, in part, because it is a potent symbol of national unity. That sense of unity means as much today as it did when the transcontinental railroad was finished less than four years after the Civil War.”