London Auctioneers, Rosebery’s enjoyed a classic rags to riches story during their specialist Islamic & Indian Arts auction on Friday 15 April when a large Indian miniature painting original bought at a car boot sale for £40 exceeded all expectations to sell for a final price of £92,250 ($133,500) “It wasn’t signed, but we believe it’s by Baba Bishan Singh…it’s an important scene of the Golden Temple,” a sacred site for Sikhs in Amritsar, India said,Bill Forrest, valuer at Roseberys.
A few months before the auction a London based taxi driver walked into the auction rooms for a valuation on a painting he had purchased some 30 years previously from a car boot sale. He had even haggled the price down from £60 to £40. It was taking up too much room and he fancied a change of décor so decided to bring it to the auction room with the hope of it being entered into Roseberys specialist sale.
Lot 131, depicted a scene of the walled old town of Amritsar with the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) in the background which is considered the holiest gurdwara, or religious complex, of the Sikh religion, the work was coveted by bidders from across the globe being heavily contested across seven telephone lines and in the room.
Further interest in the painting lies in the image of the artist who holds a portrait of a Sikh personage of importance notability. The lot eventually sold to an anonymous buyer on the telephone.
Director and specialist Peter Greenway phoned the vendor after the auction, “It was great to tell the vendor how well his picture had done. It is the moment we all strive for as auctioneers to be able to deliver a positive result. What made it even better was the vendor told me what a bad day he was having as his taxi had a flat tyre and he wasn’t able to go to work. Having heard the news he decided to give himself the weekend off!”