Marilyn Monroe's lips get top bid in Andy Warhol online auction

Arts and CultureAuction ServiceE-Commerce IndustryThe Coca-Cola Company

Marilyn Monroe, one of America’s most beloved pop cultural icons, and New Coke, one of its most despised, commanded the biggest bids in the first in a series of online Christie’s auctions of Andy Warhol artworks that ended Tuesday.

The winning bids totaled $1.84 million for 124 auction lots. It was the second round of all-Warhol sales in a multi-year effort by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to liquidate its holdings to boost its grantmaking endowment. Winning bidders also must pay a 25% buyer's premium.

The first sale, a regular auction in November at Christie's in New York City, reaped $17 million.

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“I Love Your Kiss Forever Forever,” a 1964 lithograph on two sheets of paper showing five different-colored pairs of Monroe’s lips, attracted 50 bids in the online auction and fetched $90,000 -- 16 times higher than the pre-sale top estimate of $5,000.

“New Coke,”  a colored screen print on two sheets of paper dated around 1985, the year Coca Cola changed its soda’s formula to the general distaste of the guzzling public, went for $75,000, more than doubling the $35,000 top estimate.

The auction's bestselling celebrity image was Warhol’s own: He appeared in a dozen pieces (11 of them photographs) that collectively brought in $116,200, including $38,000 for a T-shirt with his fright-wigged visage.

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Only one of the show’s 125 auction lots failed to attract any bids: “Madonna and Child,” a 1981 graphite drawing on paper that showed a baby suckling its mother’s breast, had been expected to sell for $30,000 to $40,000. 


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Arts and CultureAuction ServiceE-Commerce IndustryThe Coca-Cola Company