Thursday, December 01, 2005

First president disappoints at auction


First president disappoints at auction. The first President just could not deliver. Despite being valued at 10 to 15 million, a 1797 painting of George Washington went for a mere 8.1 million. Perhaps the New York Public Library should preserve such valued treasures for the sake of patrons now and in the future. Is the quick buck (particularly a smaller than expected one) really worth it?

From the site:

The Wednesday sale of a portrait of George Washington will help the New York Public Library to procure more books and manuscripts -- but not as many as predicted.

The painting by renowned artist Gilbert Stuart, which depicts America's first president during his final year in office, was expected to command between $10 million and $15 million, according to Sotheby's in Manhattan. Instead, it sold for a mere $8.1 million.

The buyer's name was not immediately disclosed. The final price includes an auction house commission of 20 percent of the first $200,000 and 12 percent of the rest.

A wealthy merchant-trader named William Constable commissioned the painting of a seated Washington, a sword and document in his lap, for Alexander Hamilton in 1797. Hamilton was the nation's first secretary of the treasury.

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