Warhol Coke Bottle Nabs $35 Million at Auction

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"Coca-Cola [4] Large Coca-Cola" by Andy Warhol

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The craziest thing about the multi-million dollar sale? The painting wasn’t even in color.

NewsFeed, of course, is being flippant (achievement for us in art class was to not color outside the lines) and must applaud the amount that the black-and-white Coke bottle on canvas by Andy Warhol managed to attain. It sold for $35.36 million to an anonymous telephone bidder — imagine how many bottles of the real thing that would buy! — on Tuesday at Sotheby’s robust contemporary and post-war art auction.

(See pictures of Warhol’s work.)

Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s worldwide head of contemporary art, who also served as auctioneer, told Reuters “In this new market, it was a huge success,” referring to the net total of $222.4 million from the 54 sales. The Coke bottle went for $10 million more than had been predicted.

(See the cover Warhol created for TIME.)

Perhaps this unexpected fizz might provide a welcome spark to the auction market, which, along with so much of the global economy, has dried up over the past couple of years. No wonder waiters served Coca-Cola in old-fashioned green-glass bottles to the collectors and dealers at Sotheby’s. Meanwhile, rivals Christie’s counters with its own sale of post-war and contemporary art Wednesday. Literally then, watch this space.

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