Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for S$610.8m: Other auctions that raked in big bucks in 2017

(Clockwise from top left) A Chinese vase, the world's largest uncut diamond, US$57.4 million diamond earings, a Gustav Klimt painting at £48 million, the most expensive British car and the most expensive artwork at S$152.9 million. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS, MEDIA.RMSOTHEBYS.COM, EUROPEAN PRESS PHOTO AGENCY
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Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, a portrait of Jesus Christ, broke the record for an artwork at auction, selling for US$450.3 million (S$610.8 million) at Christie's in New York on Wednesday (Nov 15).

It is the 12th painting to break the US$100 million mark at auction, and a new high for any old master at auction, surpassing Rubens' Massacre Of The Innocents, which sold for US$76.7 million in 2002 (or more than US$105 million, adjusted for inflation).

Last month, a 1,000-year-old bowl from China's Song Dynasty sold at auction for US$37.7 million (S$51.5 million), breaking the record for Chinese porcelain, auction house Sotheby's said.

The small piece - which dates from 960-1127 - broke the previous record of US$36.05 million set in 2014 for a Ming Dynasty wine cup which was sold to a Shanghai tycoon.

Here are seven other expensive items sold at auctions worldwide.

1. Painting by Zao Wou-ki - 33.6 million yuan ($6.9 million)

The painting by abstract master Zao Wou-ki, "24.12.2002 - Diptyque", sold for 33.6 million yuan (S$6.9 million), was the most expensive work of art to be sold in Christie's Shanghai.

Christie's sold a combined 98.5 million yuan worth of art at its autumn auction in Shanghai on Sunday (Sept 24), 35 per cent higher than the previous year, the company said.

2. Chinese vase - 5 million Swiss francs (S$7 million)

A Chinese vase valued between 500 Swiss francs (S$700) and 800 Swiss francs was sold for a record five million Swiss francs on Sept 21.

It is 60cm tall and depicts three blue dragons on a yellow background, and is from the 20th century but bears an unverified mark from the 18th century Qianlong era.

There was a bidding battle at the auction by two people who believed the vase was in fact from the 18th century, driving the price 10,000 times more than the catalogue estimate.

3. World's largest uncut diamond - US$53 million (S$72 million)

The size of a tennis ball, the diamond unearthed nearly two years ago by Canada's Lucara Diamond Corp has been sold for US$53 million (S$72 million), the Vancouver-based company said on Monday.

The 1,109-carat stone was bought by high-profile British diamond dealer Graff Diamonds for US$47,777 per carat, and will now be cut and polished.

4. Diamond earrings - US$57.4 million (S$77.6 million)

A pair of spectacular diamonds mounted as earrings fetched a record US$57.4 million on May 16 at a Geneva auction, with an unnamed Asia-based buyer netting both, Sotheby's said.

The earrings, named after Greek gods, were sold as separate lots.

The flawless and vivid "The Apollo Blue" fetched US$42.09 million, and the equally intensely luminescent "The Artemis Pink" went for US$15.33 million.

5. A painting of flowers - £48 million (S$83 million)

The work by Gustav Klimt sold in London for £48 million (S$83 million) on March 1, a record for a work by the Austrian artist and the third-highest price for any work sold at auction in Europe, Sotheby's said.

Described as a masterpiece of Viennese fin-de-siecle art, Bauerngarten, completed in 1907, depicts poppies, daisies, zinnia and roses in full bloom in a garden.

6. Most expensive British car - US$22.55 million (S$30.4 million)

At an event by classic car auction company RM Sotheby's, a legendary 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 went under the hammer for US$22.55 million on Aug 18.

After competition between two bidders on the phone, the final price was a world record not just for an Aston Martin, but also for a British automobile at an auction.

Just five of the model were built between 1956 and 1958, and it had been estimated to bring in at least US$20 million.

7. Most expensive artwork - US$110.5 million (S$152.9 million)

A large-abstract painting of a skull by Jean-Michel Basquiat is the world's most expensive piece of art sold at an auction.

The painting, which is untitled, was created in 1982, and joined a US$100-million-plus club previously dominated by more household names such as Picasso.

Basquiat was a homeless graffiti artist from Brooklyn, New York, who died at the age of 27 due to a heroin overdose.

The painting was bought for an incredible US$110.5 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York on May 17, by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.

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