March 11, 2020

Van Gogh goes for 15 million euro in Maastricht

Filed under: Art,History by Orangemaster @ 4:36 pm

‘Peasant woman in front of a farmhouse’ (‘Paysanne devant une chaumière’ in French), an 1885 work by Vincent van Gogh that was bought back in the 1960s in the UK for about 5 euro, just sold for 15 million euro at the world’s premier art fair TEFAF in Maastricht, Limburg.

It’s one of those stories were someone had left the painting in a cellar for years until a local antique merchant bought it at an auction for next to nothing. One year later, the painting was sold to a journalist for about 53 euro; he showed it the Tate Gallery director and it was deemed to be a Van Gogh. The journalist then auctioned it off in 1970 at Sotheby’s in New York City where it fetched USD 110.000 (97.455 euro).

In 2001 the work was sold for the last time at Sotheby’s for 1.5 million euro. Today, at 15 million euro, it’s the most expensive artwork ever sold at the TEFAF, although not all sales at the annual event are made public.

(Link:, image

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June 6, 2018

Van Gogh fetches upwards of 7 million euro

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 8:00 am

On June 4, an early painting of Vincent van Gogh entitled ‘Women Mending Nets in the Dunes’ from 1882 fetched 7.1 million euro at Paris’ Artcurial auction house, an amount that was much more than expected. According to Reuters, it was expected to fetch between 3-5 million euro, an amount many felt was excessive.

The oil painting from Van Gogh’s The Hague period has been hanging in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam for the past eight years. It was sold, as it was on loan from a private collector.

(Links:, Photo:

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October 3, 2016

Help! My mammoth takes up too much space

Filed under: Animals,History,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:04 am

Online auction site Catawiki has all kinds of stuff up for grabs, and as of last weekend, there’s a Dutch person selling off a complete mammoth skeleton.

According to the auction site, there are seven complete mammoth skeletons in the Netherlands, and this was the only one not owned by a museum. Originally found in the North Sea, the bones are not from the same mammoth, and were carefully collected over time. The skeleton is 3.2 metres high and 5.5 metres long, with 270 bones and two tusks that are three metres long.

Catawiki expects the skeleton to fetch between 200,000 and 260,000 euro. As of last weekend the highest bid was 35,000 euro.

UPDATE: A German museum that wishes to remain anonymous has bought the skeleton for 120,000 euro.

(Link:, Photo: Wolfgang Staudt, some rights reserved)

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April 24, 2014

Student sells all his personal data for 350 euro

Filed under: Online,Weird by Orangemaster @ 3:46 pm

Dutch student Shawn Buckles decided to sell his personal data to the highest bidder in an attempt to raise awareness about privacy. E-mail, diary, location, medical records and more were up for grabs. He claims he didn’t sell anything he didn’t own, and had a lawyer helping him out. Most of what he sold is available in bits and pieces on the Internet for anyone who would want to look for it, something we collectively noticed when the likes of Julian Assange were more prominently in the news.

In a radio interview with BBC radio Buckles said, “I’m trying to add more value to my privacy. Companies are making huge profits on this data trade, and I thought why not turn the tables and see what happens when a person tries to sell his data, to figure out how much it’s worth.”

On an auction on 12 April Buckles finally sold everything he could for € 350. Most people give away data for free in exchange for the use of a site, service or application. At least he made a few bucks. And anyone who really thinks their information is private is fooling themselves.

People don’t generally understand the value of their data, which is what Buckles was trying to draw attention to when he sold his. Oddly enough, there is no way an individual can sell their personal data on a market, but it may not be that far off. The health research sector, entertainment industry and insurance companies are interested in this kind of personal data.

The winning bidder was technology news company The Next Web, which Buckles says will use his data to highlight the issue of online privacy rather than to a more sinister end.


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November 27, 2013

Dutch art to be protected and kept in the country

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 11:51 am

Artworks that are considered to be of national importance will be given protected status in an effort to stop galleries from selling them to foreign or private buyers, according to rules drawn up by the Netherlands Museums Association. Dutch museums will also be given preferred buyer status for works they want to sell, and if a museum wants to sell something, they will have to wait two months to see if another domestic buyer comes forward first before selling to a party from outside the country.

Museum Gouda was criticised for selling The Schoolboys by Marlene Dumas, at Christie’s in London back in 2011 without first offering it to other Dutch museums, which highly displeased the Netherlands’ best selling contemporary artist.

Dutch museums, often at the centre of controversy, apparently own some 139 contentious artworks as well.

(Link:; illustration: the Van Gogh that was ‘discovered’ in 2011)

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November 1, 2013

English colonial stamp sold for record amount

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:30 am

Originally valued at 150,000 euro, an African postage stamp from Kenya-Uganda has fetched 208,000 euro at an auction house in Weesp, North Holland this week. The stamp was sold for 170,00, but with a 20% commission on top, the total comes to the record amount of 208,000 euro, the most ever paid for a stamp at a Dutch auction.

The stamp features the portrait of British King George V who ruled over East Africa, and was bought by a German collector. The stamp was never hinged, with only four other known copies of such a high quality left in the world.

(Links:,, Photo by Wikimedia user Jonathunder, some rights reserved)

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July 18, 2013

Chinese vase turns family into multimillionaires

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 3:50 pm

In 2003 an anonymous Dutch family inherited a Chinese vase and assessed its worth at 12,500 euro for the tax people. The rare vase of the Han Yuan dynasty then skyrocketed in value between 2003 and 2005 up to 100,000 euro according to the family, due to the many rich Chinese that were interested in buying these vases.

Just 20 months later at an auction at Christie’s in London, the vase went for a whopping 23 million euro. The tax people took the family to court, as they felt cheated and wanted to see a chunk of the megabucks. The family appealed the decision and the court made them settle at 10 million euro.

(Link:, Photo of Chinese vase by, some rights reserved)

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July 12, 2012

Dutch masters theft solved after 13 years

Filed under: Art,Sports by Orangemaster @ 5:20 am

Five of the seven paintings stolen from an elderly woman in Bilthoven, Utrecht back in 1999 turned up at a Christie’s auction last Wednesday. The police were called in and they’ve arrested three suspects, two in the Netherlands and one in Germany, involved in drugs and, well, theft from little old ladies. The most famous painting of the lot is probably ‘Antonius en Cleopatra’ (‘Anthony and Cleopatra’) from 1677 by Jan Steen. The other paintings are from the late 16th and 17th century.

The two paintings still missing from the now deceased elderly woman are more recent paintings, namely Isaac Israëls’ ‘Café-interieur-restaurant’ (‘Cafe interior restaurant’) from the 20th century and Wouterius Verschuur’s ‘Paarden in Schuur’ (‘Horses in a stable’) from the 19th century.

At the time of the theft, the paintings were valued at what is now 1,3 million euro (three million guilders).

Nice tangent: at age 63, Isaac Israëls actually won a Gold Medal at the 1928 Olympic Games, which were held in Amsterdam, for his painting Red Rider, an art competition that was part of the games.

(Links:,, Photo of Jan Steen by Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara’s photostream, some rights reserved)

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March 10, 2010

Dutch art goes for record amount

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 10:13 am

On 8 March, Sotheby’s auction house in Amsterdam auctioned off Dutch art belonging to cigarette makers BAT (British American Tobacco) to the tune of a record 13.6 million euro, the highest total for an art auction in the Netherlands. All but four of the 161 lots offered in Amsterdam found buyers.

Back in October 2008 we posted about a major art sale due to cigarette factory closing in Zevenaar, which is where some of these works used to hang, like Karel Appel’s ‘Tête Tragique’ (shown here), a 1961 oil on canvas, which sold for close to 493,000 euro.

(Links:,, Photo:

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December 4, 2007

Comedian Martine Bijl “loses” antique picture books

Filed under: Art,Literature by Branko Collin @ 9:30 am

Comedian/singer Martine Bijl decided to clean house last summer and chose to get rid of the remains of an abandoned hobby: many antique picture books she had collected over the years. She contacted Amsterdam auction house De Eland, who promised to take care of everything. Wondering what had happened to the cheque, she contacted the house after a couple of months only to find out that she wouldn’t get any money. The auction house had decided to throw away the 13 boxes of books after a cursory glance in some of them had revealed that they were not worth anything.

According to the print version of newspaper Het Parool, some of the books had an estimated value of hundreds of euro each. By British artist Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), Bijl owned De Ring van de Neveling (1911, 1912; text by Wagner/Kloos), Britsche Balladen (Verwey), and Midzomernachtsdroom (Shakespeare, Burgersdijk). By French artists J.J. Granville (1803-1847) Bijl owned the rare Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux (1853). It’s the auction’s house standard policy to throw away any lot that it expects will not net more than 25 euro, which a box of regular books rarely would.

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