The rusty handgun that Vincent van Gogh is believed to have killed himself with in 1890 has sold for €162,500 ($183,000).
The 7mm Lefaucheux revolver went under the hammer at an auction in Paris on Tuesday. AuctionArt, which offered the item, described it as “the most famous weapon in the history of art.”
Although the auction house admitted it could not be completely certain that it was the gun used by the painter to take his life, it pointed to “several pieces of evidence (that) show it must be Van Gogh’s suicide gun.”
“It was discovered where Van Gogh shot it; its caliber is the same as the bullet retrieved from the artist’s body as described by the doctor at the time; (and) scientific studies demonstrate that the gun had stayed in the ground since the 1890s,” AuctionArt said in a statement prior to the sale.
The final selling price was significantly higher than the pre-auction estimate of €60,000 ($67,000).
A farmer found the gun in 1965 in the French village of Auvers-sur-Oise, where the artist died. The discovery was made in the same field in which Van Gogh is thought to have shot himself in the stomach in July 1890. The farmer gave the weapon to the owners of an inn in the village, and it was passed down through their family before being put up for auction.
The revolver had previously been on public display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2016 as part of its exhibition “On the Verge of Insanity: Van Gogh and His Illness.”
The auction house has not named winning bidder.
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