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Andy Warhol’s Rolex whipping up a storm of interest for watch auction

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Andy Warhol, America’s most recognizable artist of the 20th century, was an avid collector of watches along with other art and objet and many of his favorite pieces were sold after his death at a mega auction in New York in 1988 to raise money for The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Those pieces periodically come back to auction and command premium prices from enthusiasts of the man, 32 years after his passing.

Add the name Rolex to an Andy Warhol-owned item, and make it a rare model on top, and you get the sort of hysteria likely to drive prices towards half a million dollars or more.

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Christie’s will be hoping that’s the case when it sells a Rolex Oyster Chronographe Anti-Magnetique (ref. 3525, case no. 262’191, circa 1943) owned by Mr Warhol at its Rare Watch Auction in Geneva (and online) on May 12.

 

 

It is described as an extremely rare and highly attractive stainless steel and pink gold chronograph wristwatch with bracelet. It has a pre-sale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.

An inveterate collector, Mr Warhol amassed a huge collection of artworks of all kinds, known to his friends as “Andy’s stuff”. The collection was sold after his death in a mammoth 10-day auction held by Sotheby’s New York between 23 April and 3 May 1988.

A further sale of Warhol’s jewellery and watches, including the ref. 3525 that is back at auction, was held on 4 December 1988.

The New York Times at the time said that more than 7,000 browsers and bidders came to Sotheby’s for the 1988 auction.

The Warhol sale totaled $5.3 million, more than twice Sotheby’s most optimistic expectations.

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