So, you’re a multi-billionaire, you have $450 million kicking about, but your’re bored of all the usual gaudy bling bullshit…
This poll was inspired by today’s news that Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’, painting sold for $400m at auction today, with a grand total of $450 million once Christie’s auction house had added on its $50 million commission.
Now we may never actually know who bought this painting, but assuming it’s an individual (although it may have been bought by a company or conglomerate), this raises the question of how much wealth you must have to be able to spend this much money on a painting!
Surly we must be looking at someone worth over $10 billion, so probably someone from the top 100 or so wealthiest people, possibly one of these from Forbe’s rich list, given that it’s unlikely that anyone’s going to risk more than 5% of their TNW on one investment, unless they really LOVE renaissance art or of course.
Anyway, whoever the anonymous buyer is, all mega-purchases like this do for me is remind of the existence of the global super-rich – that handful of billionaires that make up the top 0.00001% of the world’s population – domains like Christie’s auction house are their’s, and purchases of items in the several millions of dollars a regular occurrence.
This event is just a painful reminder of how much of a toss the global elite don’t give about global poverty. Between them, those present at that auction house yesterday could have transformed the lives of so many. NB I know it’s not THAT simple – money for development often gets misspent, it has unintended consequences etc etc… so I am being a bit idealistic, all I’m trying to do here is get some perspective on the enormous sum spent on that painting.
Here’s one calculation that does just that…
- According to calculations by Oxfam, £250 000 is the sum required to provide clean drinking water to 16 800 people in Ethiopia.
- $450 000 000/ £275 000 = 1636.36 rec
- 1636.36 * 16 800 = 27 490, 848 people.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really not comfortable with the co-existence of global problems such as lack of access to clean water and a global Eloi jet setting around the world buying high status items at luxury auction houses.