Published: September 5, 2000
‘Spitting Image’ Creations Total $553,138
LONDON, ENGLAND – A flurry of bidding in the closing minutes of Sotheby’s recent online sale of the infamous puppets from Spitting Image saw prices reach surprising levels. The auction (sothebys.amazon.com) raised a total of $553,138, more than twice the top estimate. All 200 puppets found new homes, often at many multiples of the estimated prices. Five cartoon drawings in the 301-lot sale failed to sell.
Former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the clear winner in the bidding stakes, topping the poll at $16,775, with 39 bids placed on her puppet – in patronizing pose – while Rolling Stone Mick Jagger pipped Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the post, forcing the former President into third place. The Reagans attracted more bids than Jagger, a total of 45, but they were not enough to top Jagger’s $11,277 selling price.
There were two other Mrs Thatchers: one in angry mood and wearing a man’s suit and tie, which sold for $7,920 and the other with husband Denis, for $6,710. These lots attracted 37 and 47 bids respectively, while a contender for top honours was a leather-clad Norman Tebbit who attracted 32 bids to sell for $7,260.
A grey John Major, sold with his wife Norma for £3,165 ($4,730), ahead by a whisker over Tony and Cherie Blair at $4,675, despite the latter attracting almost twice as many bids.
The Royal Family puppets were also popular. HM The Queen sold on the 32nd bid for $6,551 and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, whose 46 bids brought a selling price of $6,720. HRH The Prince of Wales, wearing a daffodil in his lapel, was bid on 36 times and sold for $5,225.
British sporting personalities were well to the fore, George Best scoring the highest price of $6,710 just ahead of Eric Cantona at $6,556.
Elvis Presley topped the pops among singers and actors at $6,221 with a staggering 41 bids, beaten in this category only by Luciano Pavarotti who sold for $5,720 and Laurence Olivier who fetched $4,626 each attracting 54 bids.
Roger Law, creator of Spitting Image, said he had been overwhelmed by the success of the sale. “This is a fantastic result. When we first planned the sale, we thought it might have made around £100,000 and I hoped to make enough to put down a deposit on a house in Australia and buy a new surfboard. Now I could buy the entire beach!
“There are a lot more puppets in my storerooms,” he continued. “I was looking forward to burning them on Guy Fawkes Night but now Sotheby’s have persuaded me to hold another sale sometime early next year.”
All prices quoted include a ten percent buyers premium.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm