Brad Pitt, Archibald Knox and the bidding war at a Hampstead auction house
- Credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
A Hampstead auction house was abuzz with excitement as a furious bidding war saw a prized lot sell for 10 times its estimate.
But Hampstead Auctions in Heath Street has attempted to quash rumours that a certain Hollywood megastar may have helped to drive up the price.
The coveted item, a silver cup and cover produced by Manx designer Archibald Knox for Liberty and Co in 1901, sold for £42,000 as five telephone buyers competed with several in the room and online, against an estimate of £4,000-£6,000.
World-famous actor Brad Pitt is a known admirer of the designer and is believed to have amassed a collection of at least 15 Knox works, including a similar but enamelled cup.
It has also been suggested that Pitt and wife Angelina Jolie may have named their son Knox after the artist.
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Yet Colin Smith, of Hampstead Auctions, cast doubt over any suggestion that the star played a part in the bidding war.
However, he did leave the door slightly ajar by refusing to identify the parties involved – and admitting that the actor would be unlikely to bid on his own behalf.
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He told Heathman: “Knox is very much in vogue at the moment. He’s a very sought-after and highly collected artist and this is a fairly important piece of his, but we were not expecting it to do quite so well.
“For us to sell something like that, in a small hall in Hampstead, shows we really are competing with much bigger houses – it’s a feather in our cap.”