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Daily Archives: April 12, 2009

Contents of Versace’s home sold for 7m pounds in London

The contents of fashion designer Gianni Versace's opulent villa on the shores of Italy's Lake Como sold here this week for more than seven million pounds, Sotheby's auction house said.
Over 12 hours of heated bidding, the 545 lots from Villa Fontanelle outside Milan sold for a total of 7,411,919 pounds [10,390,769 dollars] – double the pre-sale high estimate of up to 2.8 million pounds.
The biggest sale of the day was for the exceptional pair of Italian cherry wood bookcases from Versace's bedroom, which sold for 481,250 and 601,250 pounds respectively – more than four times their pre-sale high estimates.
Two huge statues of naked Greek boxers Creugas and Damoxenos, plaster copies of Antonio Canova's Pugilists which also adorned the bedroom, sold for 433,250 pounds, more than ten times the top estimate of 40,000 pounds.
Villa Fontanelle was said to be the favourite home of the designer, who was shot dead in Miami in 1997. He described it as "the house that really belongs to me, reflecting a mirror image of all that I am, for better or worse."
Located 30 miles (50 kilometres) from Milan, it was used for lavish parties attended by Princess Diana, Madonna, Sting and Elton John.
One of the flagship lots in the auction had to be withdrawn amid confusion over its ownership and fears that it might have been stolen.
Johann Zoffany's portrait of Major George Maule, an English official in India in the 18th century, was estimated to sell for up to 60,000 pounds.
But it was withdrawn after a direct descendant of Maule spotted a picture of the painting in a newspaper and contacted the Art Loss Register – the world's largest private database of lost and stolen art.
The descendant sent the ALR a photograph of the portrait where it hung over a mantlepiece before it "vanished", a spokesman for the ALR said. An investigation is now underway to establish who was the rightful owner.
The lavish contents of late fashion designer Gianni Versace's Italian lakeside home were put on show ahead of the auction in London.
Auctioneers Sotheby's recreated rooms from Versace's Villa Fontanelle at Moltrasio on Lake Como in northern Italy – including his bedroom, complete with giant stone statues of naked Greek pugilists.


US airliner sparks Israel security scare

Israeli warplanes scrambled yesterday to intercept a US airliner bound for Tel Aviv after the crew failed to follow the correct procedure on approach to Ben Gurion airport, a military spokesman said.
The crew of the Delta Airlines Boeing 777 flight from New York "did not identify the flight according to the regulations" by radio to enable it to land, he said.
An immediate alert was declared and the fighters took off "according to routine procedure," the spokesman said.
The aircraft, with 105 passengers on board, was able to land at Israel's main international airport after a 10-minute delay, army radio reported. It said the crew were later questioned to determine how the incident happened.