Warhol Dollar Sign handkerchief up 48.1% on estimate in London

An unusual Andy Warhol Dollar Sign has sold for £44,450 at Bonhams' Contemporary Two: Modern Design auction in London.

In doing so, the 1981 or 1982 work beat its £30,000 high estimate by 48.1% - giving great encouragement to Warhol collectors thinking of selling.

Dollar signs are a theme Warhol first worked with in the 1960s, before returning to the idea in the early 1980s. They are in great demand; a large-scale 1981 Warhol Dollar Sign made $5.1m at Christie's in 2010, more than doubling its $2.5m low estimate.

They don't often appear in a form as unusual as this.

This rare piece was printed by Warhol on a handkerchief for friends, before being mounted on board - we have a rare Warhol item of our own for sale: a polo neck sweater worn by the artist.

Warhol was fascinated with the concept of making money. In a model that has been developed by contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst, Warhol's art producing factory was geared towards maximising profits.

"I like money on the wall," Warhol is quoted as saying in D Bourdon's 1995 biography Warhol.

"Say you were going to buy a $200,000 painting. I think you should take that money, tie it up, and hang it on the wall. Then when someone visited you, the first thing they would see is the money on the wall."

Warhol's Dollar Sign was not the most valuable lot of the March 29 auction, however. That honour went to Gerhard Richter's 1985 Untitled oil and watercolour, which smashed its £25,000 estimate with a £133,250 showing.

Jean-Paul Riopelle's Granité 1956 oil on canvas also performed well, selling for £61,250.

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