Anonymous Hirst work auctioned for £200

  • 29 August 2007

An anonymous auction surprised art dealers when it transpired that a bidder who offered £200 for ‘lot 15’ had actually bought a little-known Damien Hirst painting.

The auction saw art connoisseurs eagerly await the painting, which was being sold alongside 41 others. However, the original painting, which was created by Hirst for his ‘Spin’ series, fooled everyone but film producer Allan Maloney - who already owns two works from the famous series.

A number of works in the auction were created in the style of the sought after artist, with paintings wrongly guessed to be the Hirst original fetching as much as £5,000. One of which included a sculpture entitled Rats in a Drainpipe by three A-level students from London.

The auction was held at the Flatlake Arts and Literary Festival in County Monaghan. Organiser Kevin Allen commented: “I had devised the idea and had framed Damien’s work myself on an oblong mount to put people off the scent. The works of art, which were anonymous and numbered, were brought out for a three-minute quick view, like a horse is at a ring.

“Five of Ireland’s most prominent arts dealers were standing at the front. When the bidding started, it was the best theatre I had ever seen.”

Mr Maloney agreed to have his purchase auctioned again, where it was promptly snapped up for £95,000.

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