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Would You Pay $3,000 for a Drawing of a Cat?

What if it was a Warhol? Three are being auctioned online at Christie's.

 |  Feb 28th 2013  |   6 Contributions


What do you think? Is a print of a cat worth thousands of dollars? Your lizard brain probably shouted “NO!” before you finished reading the question. Now consider this: Would you pay that amount for a print that you might not even like? Once you know where the print comes from, your lizard brain might say “maybe” -- or perhaps “if I had the money.”

Seriously? Yes, seriously.

This is one of 25 cats name[d] Sam. (You'll understand in a minute, we promise. Keep reading.)

The three lithographs you see here were created by Andy Warhol, and online bids for them at Christie's were between $2,200 and $3,200 last we checked. They’re taken from a collection known as 25 Cats Name[d] Sam and One Blue Pussy.

So whether you like the pieces or not, you might pay just to have a Warhol, even if it’s not a redundant soup can or a swarm of Jackie O portraits on acid -- images that helped make Warhol famous. These are cats. And you like cats. And you might pay thousands of dollars for one of these prints even if you’re sure that my cat could do better than that!

Ah, modern art. It’s a paradox, isn’t it?

These are [presumably] two more cats name[d] Sam.

The smallest print measures 4.25 inches by about 5.6 inches, another measures 8.75 inches by 5 inches, while a third measures 9 inches by 12 inches. The latter one has a different cat printed on each side of the same paper -- which we thought was a sick Warhol joke (“Help! How am I supposed to display this thing?”) until we saw that the prints were done in 1954, a decade before Pop Art was a thing, and when Warhol inhabited the fringe of New York's art scene. With these prints, he was probably just messing around, not thinking people would want to buy one and frame it to impress their friends.

Here is a fourth Sam, and the One Blue Pussy.

But they're up for bid, and it's your chance to impress your friends -- if you have the money (or an empty credit card). As of midday Feb. 27, the high bids were $2,200, $2,800, and $3,200 -- and the auctions had almost six days to go.

Considering this, a better question might be: “Would you pay $10,000 for a lithograph of a cat?”

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