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The highest bidder

5 July 2021
hong kong christie's auction
A woman holds the Sakura Diamond during preview at Christie's in Hong Kong, China, 20 May 2021. The 15.81 Carat Fancy Vivid Purple Pink Internally Flawless Type lla Diamond Ring will be auctioned in Hong Kong on 23 May 2021 for an estimated 25 million to 38 million US dollars. (Photo by Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
hong kong christie's auction

Pretty in pink & in price

If your beloved doesn’t at least attempt to get this 15.8-carat Sakura diamond for your engagement ring, then you may want to rethink the whole affair. All they need to do is track down the mystery phone bidder who bought it for US$29.3 million (and probably pry it from their laser-controlled, underground safe). Yes, you’re worth it.

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Bombshell prices

Imagine having a wardrobe where you own 13 of the most valuable women’s dresses ever to sell at auction. Well, starlet Marilyn Monroe did. Her subway grate dress from The Seven Year Itch was once the most expensive piece of clothing in the world when it sold at auction for US$4.6 million. However, a few years later, the infamous skin-tight Jean Louis-designed dress – which she had to be sewn into to sing her breathy rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to then US President John F Kennedy in 1962 – fetched US$4.8 million at auction (it was purchased by Ripley’s Believe it or Not).

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Where in the world?

You’d have to forgo a few avocado on toasts to get your hands on this – and then have to hire a crack team of detectives to find it. Reportedly the most expensive painting known to be sold at auction, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi fetched a cheeky US$450 million at Christie’s New York in 2017 after it was unearthed from obscurity in an estate sale. It was allegedly bought by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, though he has never confirmed this (DM us, Your Royal Highness – we’d love to get the scoop). But now it appears everyone is playing a game of where in the world is Salvator Mundi: since it was sold, it hasn’t been seen again. It’ll send you down a right rabbit hole following all the tantalising theories.


guy ngan

Guy Ngan, Habitation

Guy Ngan (1926–2017) was a second-generation Chinese-New Zealand artist. Originally exhibited at The Dowse Art Museum, this is a tailored version of Guy Ngan: Habitation, with the artist’s sculptures, prints and paintings alongside the large-scale aluminium sculpture, Newton Post Office Mural (1973), from the collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
Until July 18, Dunedin Public Art Gallery,
30 The Octagon, Dunedin

Tim Wraight, New Wood for Old Iron

The works for this show take old iron and steel tools and gift them new intricately carved handles.
This is Wraight’s way of honouring the role these hand tools have had in shaping our places and environments in the past and a rejection of the ease with which we alter our landscape with powerful machinery.
Until July 27, Little River Gallery,
Main Road, Little River

Darryn George Water Lilies

Darryn George’s paintings draw upon the Christian narrative of “the Garden of Eden, a place of purity before the Fall”. Beyond this, however, George’s canvases express a universal yearning for a time free from the litany of social and environmental ills that scroll across our screens daily.
Until July 13, Milford Galleries,
18 Dowling Street, Dunedin


Fauna looks at the animal and human life of our place in the world through the artworks of Dick Frizzell, Joanna Braithwaite, Nigel Brown, Chris Heaphy, Neil Dawson and many more.
Until July 27, Milford Galleries,
9A Earl Street, Queenstown

Michael Nicholson Rear Window Project

Described by the artist as “the first example of a fully mature musical form addressing the human eye rather than the human ear”, The Visual Music Project Ops 1–4 is a digital video work inspired by the German/Russian artistic group Der Blaue Reiter (whose members included Paul Klee, Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky).
Until August 1, Dunedin Public Art Gallery,
30 The Octagon, Dunedin

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