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Friedrich von Hayek's £1.1 million Nobel Prize sets online only auction record at Sotheby's
The Nobel Prize led Sotheby’s ‘White-Glove’ online-only auction of 27 lots from Von Hayek’s personal collection. Courtesy Sotheby’s.


LONDON.- 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.





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