Sotheby’s is staging what it claims to be the world’s first auction dedicated entirely to gold.
It was held in London and the sale featured a golden Ferrari, a solid gold bust of supermodel Kate Moss and a gilt chair made for Napoleon’s throne room.
The auction, dubbed “The Midas Touch,” highlighted the metal’s enduring appeal throughout human history, as shown by its continued use in jewelry and the arts. But the theme has also attracted criticism from historians and art experts who believe the collection promotes an extravagance out of keeping with modern values.
According to the auction house’s senior director, Constantine Frangos, the sale was organized following a spike in prices and demand for gold from Asia, Russia and the Middle East.
“Today, gold works of art, and of course gold jewelry, have an international appeal and we’ve already seen interest from around the world for works in the Midas Touch sale,” Frangos said in an email interview. The collection featured jewelry, sculptures, paintings, ancient texts and religious objects, blending traditional and modern styles of gilded art.