A print of a painting by Britain’s King Charles III went for almost 10 times its original estimate when it sold at auction Thursday.
The print is one of 100 of a painting of Balmoral Castle, a royal residence in Scotland, and was part of Bonhams’ “The Scottish Home” auction.
“In my time as an auctioneer I have never seen so many commission bids lodged prior to an auction,” said Hamish Wilson, senior valuer at Bonhams, referring to bids placed before a live auction. “I think that speaks for itself.”
The print eventually sold for £5,737.50 (around $6,500) including auction fees, compared with the original upper estimate of £600 ($675).
The auction, which saw prospective buyers take part online from around the world, was live streamed on the Bonhams website.
Wilson said: “I don’t think I have ever seen as many pre-sale bids so I’m afraid there’s going to be a lot of people here very disappointed when they don’t buy this.”
The auctioneer opened the bidding at £3,000 and brought the gavel down several minutes later at almost double that figure.
Wilson told CNN on Wednesday that the interest might have been due in part to the fact that Balmoral was where Queen Elizabeth II spent her final days last month, before her at the age of 96.
“It has a new resonance in the nation and in the world,” he said, adding that interest may also be driven by the possibility that this is the first piece of artwork by a living monarch offered at auction.
“It’s a rare occurrence,” said Wilson.
Charles painted the original in 2001, and the print is signed and dated in pencil, according to the auction listing. It was sold framed and cased with a certificate, and was originally expected to fetch between £400 and £600 ($450 and $675).
Charles is known as a painting enthusiast and has described his hobby as “one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know.”
Earlier this year, an exhibition brought together 79 of his landscape paintings, including scenes from the French countryside, the Scottish Highlands and Tanzania, which is among his “favorite places to paint,” according to a press release from his educational charity, The Prince’s Foundation.
Charles’ work regularly depicts the royal family’s estates, including Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House, and he has also produced watercolors in Turkey, Nepal and the Swiss Alps.
“I took up painting entirely because I found photography less than satisfying,” he is quoted as saying. “Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolor and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture which is impossible to achieve via photography.”
Charles became King following the death of his mother on September 8. His coronation will take place on May 6 next year at Westminster Abbey in London.
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