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Tiny Leonardo da Vinci Drawing Fetches Record $12.2 Million USD at Auction

The postage stamp-sized ‘Head of a Bear’ dates back to the 1480s.

Leonardo da Vinci‘s Head of a Bear, which is approximately the size of a postage stamp, sold for a record £8.9 million GBP ($12.2 million USD) at Christie’s London.

According to Artnet, the silver point drawing measures at only two-and-three-quarters inches square and is believed to be part of a series of animal studies da Vinci created in the early 1480s. The piece, drawn on pink-beige prepared paper, was privately acquired in 2008 via London dealer Johnny van Haeften, who called it “a very charming drawing.” The Leiden Collection director of exhibitions added, “It’s a huge rarity in itself.”

The provenance of Head of a Bear is quite admirable, as it previously belonged to 18th century British painter and Old Masters drawings collector Thomas Lawrence, as well as British captain Norman Robert Colville. It was also exhibited at several institutions such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the National Gallery in London.

The work fronted Christie’s £19.5 million GBP ($27 million USD) “Exceptional Sale,” which also included a manuscript signed by Isaac Newton and a 17th century Charles I silver inkstand, which went for £1.7 million GBP ($2.3 million USD) and £1.9 million GBP ($2.7 million USD) respectively.

Stijn Alsteens, head of Christie’s Old Master drawings department, told CNN that Head of a Bear “will undoubtedly be one of the last drawings by Leonardo to ever come to the market.”

In related news, The Lost Leonardo explores the mystery of the most expensive painting ever sold.

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