Christie’s was the venue for a 30th anniversary charity auction last night, which raised £375,000 for the first HIV and sexual health care charity in Britain. The room was stunned into silence as Tracey Emin spontaneously auctioned one of her famous neons. As bidding closed at £8,000 on one of her paintings, Tracey upped the ante with the surprise auction lot. The winning bidder forked out £58,000 for their chance to get their hands on Tracey’s neon sign artwork, which will be made in a colour of the buyer’s choosing and will read ‘now love is for you’.
Tracey picked up the mic, taking bidders skyrocketing through the tens of thousands to raise the stunning sum. Asked about the shock move afterwards, she simply commented: “I thought that was a bloody brilliant idea!”
The thrilled bidder, named Todd Ruppert, commented that the one of a kind piece would be a gift to his daughter, who would select the colour personally.
Tracey wasn’t the only celebrity to take to the stage. Nancy Dell’Olio brought her own inimitable flamboyance to her role, modelling a diamond bracelet by jeweller Tateossian. The bracelet sold for £12,000.
The annual event, sponsored by Prudential plc, saw fierce competition for a range of ‘money can’t buy’ lots. In between bidding, guests including Tracey, Nancy, Jacquetta Wheeler, Fawn James, Michelle Mone and Jack Vettriano, were treated to cocktails, champagne, and canapés.
The evening raised an incredible £375,000 for Terrence Higgins Trust, with every penny going towards services for people living with and affected by HIV and sexual ill-health.
Genevieve Edwards, Director of Fundraising at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The funds we raised at our 30th Anniversary Auction will help to keep vital services open for thousands of people with HIV. I am so grateful to everyone who came to the event and made it happen. Ours is not an easy cause to fundraise for, and yet our services have never been more in demand. The incredible generosity of the wonderful people who donated or bid for the lots on sale means the world to us. It’s a testament to the determination of so many to carry on the vital work Terry Higgins’ friends began in his memory 30 years ago.”
In addition to the live auction at Christie’s, Terrence Higgins Trust is running a silent auction, which closes on 27th March at 6pm. People can text Auction30 to 88850 to bid for a range of fantastic lots, including a chance to meet the cast and puppets of the National Theatre’s epic production of War Horse; and a portrait of the late Princess Diana with sons Prince William and Harry, photographed by John Swannell.
Terry Higgins a popular barman at the Embassy club died of an AIDS-related illness on 4th July 1982 at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. He was 37 years old. That same year, three of his closest friends founded the Terry Higgins Trust, using Terry’s name in the hope of humanising and personalising AIDS in a very public way. From that first meeting in a small flat in East London, Terrence Higgins Trust has grown to become the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity, with services across England, Scotland and Wales.
Photo: © ArtLyst.com 2013