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Friedrich von Hayek's £1.1 million Nobel Prize sets Online Only Auction Record at Sotheby's

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    Friedrich von Hayek's £1.1 million Nobel Prize sets Online Only Auction Record at Sotheby's
    19.03.2019

A New Record for Any Item Sold in an Online-Only sale at Sotheby’s to date:

The Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science Awarded to Friedrich von Hayek One of the greatest minds of the 20th-Century Sells for £1.1 million / $1.5 million

19 March 2019 – A new record for any item sold in an online-only sale at Sotheby’s was set today when Friedrich von Hayek’s Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science sold for £1.1 million / $1.5 million, almost triple its pre-sale low estimate (£400,000-600,000).

The previous benchmark for the most valuable item ever sold in a Sotheby’s online-only sale was $800,000, achieved the only complete archive of Supreme skate decks in private hands which sold to Vancouver Collector Carson Guo in January 2019.

Von Hayek’s Nobel Prize, awarded for “pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations”, led Sotheby’s online-only sale of 27 lots from his personal collection which together realised £2.04 million / $2.67 million, quadruple the pre-sale estimate (£445,000-670,000).

The auction was a ‘White Glove” sale, with each and every lot selling for many multiples of their high estimate, including a collection of “Desktop ephemera”, estimated at just £200-300, that reached £87,500 / $114,546.

Elsewhere in the sale, von Hayek’s personal underlined and annotated copy of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, estimated at £3,000-5,000, sold for £150,000 / $196,365, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to von Hayek by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, estimated at £10,000-15,000, reached £112,500 / $147,274.

In total, more than 1,000 bids were placed on the 27 lots.

Sotheby’s specialist Dr. Gabriel Heaton said: “Friedrich von Hayek’s influence is perhaps still unmatched by any other Economics laureate. His theories, which have influenced some of the of the major political moments in Western history, continue to resonate today as demonstrated by the extraordinary demand we witnessed for his personal collection at Sotheby’s.”

Friedrich von Hayek
A towering economist, political philosopher and beloved of right-wing policy makers, Friedrich von Hayek is often regarded as one of the greatest intellectual figures of the twentieth century. His writings have had a profound impact in shaping the modern world, from rom the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the governments of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. In more recent years, his conflicting views with rival economist John Maynard Keynes about how to conquer the Great Depression were brought into sharp focus following the economic crash of 2008.

The sale was planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary this month of the publication of Hayek’s seminal publication, The Road to Serfdom.

Online only Sales at Sotheby’s
“Friedrich von Hayek: His Nobel Prize and Family Collection” is part of a robust calendar of online-only sales presented by Sotheby’s throughout the year. Recent successes in Sotheby’s online-only sales include ‘Important Picasso Ceramics Online’, which was 100% sold and achieved a total in excess of the high estimate. An online-only sale of Original Film Posters is currently open for bidding, and from tomorrow Prints from the Collection of Marina Picasso will also go live on Sotheby’s website.








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  • Hayek, F.A, Novel Prize Gold Medal (£400,000-600,000)
    Hayek, F.A, Novel Prize Gold Medal (£400,000-600,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Companion of Honour, 1984, awarded by Queen Elizabeth II (£3,000 - 5,000)
    Companion of Honour, 1984, awarded by Queen Elizabeth II (£3,000 - 5,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Hayek, A set of presentation presidential cufflinks, from Ronald Reagan, with the Seal of the President on the front and signature engraved on the reverse, and signed photograph (2)
    Hayek, A set of presentation presidential cufflinks, from Ronald Reagan, with the Seal of the President on the front and signature engraved on the reverse, and signed photograph (2)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Hayek, A set of presentation presidential cufflinks, from Ronald Reagan, with the Seal of the President on the front and signature engraved on the reverse, and signed photograph
    Hayek, A set of presentation presidential cufflinks, from Ronald Reagan, with the Seal of the President on the front and signature engraved on the reverse, and signed photograph
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • F.A.Von Hayek
    F.A.Von Hayek
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Hayek, F., Photograph of Hayek meeting Reagan, signed by Reagan (£1,500-2,00)
    Hayek, F., Photograph of Hayek meeting Reagan, signed by Reagan (£1,500-2,00)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • F.A.Von Hayek young
    F.A.Von Hayek young
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
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