Solid Gold Casts Of Nelson Mandela’s Hands Sold for Over $15 Million

If anyone deserves a big hand, or four, it’s him.

By Rachel Cormack 05/03/2020

Nelson Mandela changed the world with his own two hands. So it’s only fitting that replicas of his powerful palms would sell for millions, especially when crafted from solid gold.

On Tuesday, March 3, New York-based auction house Guernsey’s sold four solid-gold casts of the South African revolutionary’s hands for the lofty sum of $15.6 million.

Captured by a team from Harmony Gold—one of South Africa’s premier mines—the detailed castings tell the story of one of the most celebrated, respected and beloved men of our time. From his unique fingerprints to the scar he sustained while imprisoned on Robben Island, each piece is unequivocally profound.

The collection includes two powerful fists—one is inscribed with “1964,” the year Mandela was first imprisoned; the other “1990,” the year of his release—as well as an open palm and one full hand impression set. Each piece is engraved with the legend’s signature and weigh between 2.1kg and 4.2kg.

Nelson Mandela Hands

Guernsey’s

Snapped up by an international buyer, the coveted castings were created in 2002 to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and are believed to be the only such sculptural works in existence. After Mandela was released from prison, thousands of pieces of art bearing his name flooded the market and a high number were fakes. Under Mandela’s own orders, many works were destroyed, so these hands are extremely rare.

“We’re thrilled that a single buyer was able to bring all four of the gold casts together again,” says Arlan Ettinger, owner and co-founder of Guernsey’s. “This collection is as beautiful as it is significant, and it was an honour to be part of such a historic moment.”

A figurehead of modern democracy, Mandela dismantled the apartheid system, spread the spirit of freedom, equality and unity throughout Africa, won a Nobel Peace Prize and was the first black president. If anyone deserves a big hand, or four, it’s him.

Check out more images of the sculptures below:

Nelson Mandela Hands

Guernsey’s

Nelson Mandela Hands

Guernsey’s

Nelson Mandela Hands

Guernsey’s

ADVERTISE WITH US

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Sydney Dining Institution Lucio’s To Sell Its Art

The auction will feature some of the most famous names in Australian art.

By Terry Christodoulou

11/01/2021

Fashion Designer Martin Margiela To Open Parisian Art Show

The mysterious creative is switching gears.

By Martin Lerma

06/01/2021

Art Gallery Of NSW Unveils 2021 Program

The new year will also see the gallery celebrate two significant milestones.

By Terry Christodoulou

11/12/2020

Whiteley Masterpiece To Smash Australian Art Record

A longstanding sale record is set to fall this week.

By Terry Christodoulou

23/11/2020

The Rain Room Reopens

The country’s most photographed exhibition returns for another season.

By Terry Christodoulou

19/11/2020

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected