Collectors rarely shoot holes in expensive art, but Dennis Hopper, the actor and art collector, thought his Andy Warhol screenprint of Mao Zedong looked dangerous one dark night. He shot two bullet holes in the picture. Warhol thought it amusing and signed one "warning shot" and the other "bullet hole." The picture, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, sold for $302,500 at a Christie's auction on January 12, 2011. It is a one-of-a-kind because of the artist-signed bullet holes, so the "damage" didn't lower the value.
Photo: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2010
Roseville pottery collectors now classify damage to pieces. Glaze chips that don't damage the clay body and are very small are of minimal concern. Chips through the glaze into the clay body and hairline cracks are more serious because they require some restoration. For the past few years, buyers of Roseville and other art pottery have been willing to pay good prices for great pieces that are slightly damaged.
Record Price for Lalique Vase
An amber Lalique glass vase shaped to look as if a serpent were wrapped around it set a record price of $56,673 at a December auction by Heritage Auctions in New York. The vase, made in 1924, is 10 1/4 inches high.
Photo: Heritage Auctions
Restored Antique at Boston Museum
Should museums restore antiques? The new rooms at the Boston Museum present a novel solution. The base of a cupboard with drawers made in Massachusetts about 1690-1700 is displayed as a carved wooden chest, no color added. A new top for the cupboard was made in 2009 and painted the way the base would have been when new. Faded paint and textile dyes have given a distorted idea of the decorating of the 17th and 18th centuries. Scientific studies have proven our well-to-do ancestors had very cheerful decorations on the walls and furniture that went with their colorful ceramics.
Costume jewelry can masquerade as real if you're the Duchess of Windsor. She often wore two strands of large pearls together. One strand was cultured, and the other was a natural pearl and diamond necklace by Cartier that had once belonged to Queen Mary. We don't know where the cultured pearls are, but the real ones sold for $733,333 to Calvin Klein at a 1987 auction. They sold again in 2007 for $3,625,000.