Top 10 Most Valuable Warhol Prints
Andy Warhol’s art has fetched big bucks ever since he debuted his own flavor of pop-art in 1962. His pieces have stood the test of time, too—some of his highest-grossing work comes from auction sales in the last five years. With a tremendous catalogue, Andy Warhol’s name shows no sign of exiting the blue-chip art market anytime soon. Let’s take a look at the 10 most valuable Warhol prints of all time.
10. Marilyn Monroe 23, 1967 — $281,250
Over the course of his career, Andy Warhol created a massive number of Marilyn images in various media. He first depicted the superstar in 1962 in his work titled Marilyn Diptych. After establishing his print-publishing business, Factory Additions, in 1967, Marilyn Monroe became the subject of his first self-published screenprints. Andy became fascinated with the way Monroe’s fame accelerated after her suicide in 1962. Partially due to her death, he became inspired to create his own iconic prints after the already-iconic actress. This one comes from the set of 250 editions created in 1967. Marilyn Monroe 23 has a purple face and burnt yellow hair, while her eyes are a mixture of light blue tones and sea foam green. It sold for $281,250 on April 19th, 2018. The full 36×36 inch wove paper sheet is signed in pencil and stamp-numbered 210/250.
9. Marilyn Monroe 31, 1967 — $287,500
Marilyn Monroe returns for Andy’s 9th most valuable print ever sold. Estimated at $180,000 – $220,000, this pink Marilyn sold for a final price of $287,500 on October 23rd, 2017. In this print, she has a peach skin tone with pink-red eyelids and red lips, with banana-yellow hair. Marilyn was a muse for Warhol, as she represented many of his interests. She embodied a blend of American ideals, such as glamour, prestige, and fame. Furthermore, her suicide in 1962 multiplied her image into an infamous icon of Hollywood culture and its shortcomings. Thus, she became even more of an inspiration for Warhol’s art. This particular pink Marilyn sold in excellent condition in 2017, showing extremely fresh colors and few signs of ware. The print is signed in pencil on the verso, dated and stamp-numbered 127/250.
8. Mao 99, 1972, in collaboration with Dennis Hopper — $302,500
From the more politically-inspired region of Warhol’s catalogue comes his eighth most valuable print ever sold: Mao 99 from 1972. From the various portraits in the complete Mao portfolio, Mao 99 combines starry-night blue, green, and hot pink colors on a bold teal backdrop. This particular print stands out from Andy’s typical factory-style pieces, due to its curious history involving actor and filmmaker Dennis Hopper. Legend has it that the vibrant portrait spooked him one night after glimpsing it from the corner of his eye, which suddenly inspired him to shoot the screenprint twice. Ostensibly, Andy later saw what Hopper did and he loved it. He annotated the holes as “warning shot” and “bullet hole.” With a presale estimate of $20,000 – $30,000, the print’s value surpassed expectations by more than 1000%, selling for a final price of $302,500 on January 11th, 2011. Andy signed the verso in ballpoint pen and stamp-numbered 144/250.
7. Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482), 1984 – $309,797
The Birth of Venus is the seventh most valuable Warhol print. This one beckons from Andy’s Pop Art re-imagination of the Renaissance era. Sandro Botticelli was one of the most astounding artists of the renaissance period. Andy’s recreation of the work fits neatly into his theme of crafting new representations of the world’s notable spectacles. Interestingly, this Birth of Venus happens to be a unique trial proof from a larger edition. Andy would produce a number of trial proofs after receiving a commission, and usually make more after consulting with the client. Trial proofs are unique works in regards to color and organizational detail and thus blur the line between an “original” and a complete edition. Therefore, the solitary and technical nature of a trial proof may render their precise value unrecognizable.
In any case, this print sold for $309,797 on June 6th, 2019. The 25×37 inch paper print is signed and labeled “TP 29/36” in pencil on the front, and includes both Warhol’s and the publisher’s (Schellmann & Klüser) copyright stamp on the reverse.
6. Marilyn Monroe 24, 1967 – $316,388
You guessed it: another Marilyn Monroe. This time, the iconic sex-symbol celebrity is cloaked in a brooding black and grey palette, forming Andy’s 6th most valuable print of all time. Like her colorful counterparts, she rests on 36×36 inch smooth wove paper. Unlike her counterparts, this Marilyn sold with plenty of scuffs, scratches, and creases on the canvas; still managing to fetch a record price.
All nitpicking aside, the imperfections of this darkly toned Marilyn didn’t keep it from reaching the 10 most valuable Warhol prints ever sold. Nonetheless, Warhol’s Marilyn prints are some of his most iconic to date. As an embodiment of glamour, beauty, and celebrity life, Monroe was the perfect subject for Warhol. Her death in 1962 only caused his fascination for her to grow. After the actress’s suicide, her reputation evolved and she became an infamous concept of Hollywood fame itself. As a result, she became somewhat of a muse for Warhol, who would create many images of the super-star over the course of his life.
This Marilyn 24 sold for $316,388 on March 30th, 2010. “181/250” and Warhol’s signature in pencil are on the verso.
5. Mickey Mouse, from Myths, 1981 – $324,500
The beloved cartoon character Mickey Mouse stands as Warhol’s fifth most valuable print ever sold. Andy liked to paint larger than life cultural figures. If there has ever been such a figure outside the human form we typically find them in, that figure is Mickey Mouse. Since the beginning of his career, Andy was greatly influenced by the art and entrepreneurship of Walt Disney. As a result, it’s no surprise that towards the end of his life, we see Disney’s most prized creation emerge in his catalogue. This concept comes from Warhol’s Myths series, showcasing Mickey alongside characters like Dracula, Uncle Sam, Santa Claus, and others. This Mickey is a unique trial proof, originating from the greater edition of 200. It sold for $324,500 on October 23rd, 2018. The Mickey is adorned with diamond dust, signed, and numbered “TP 21/30” in pencil on the front.
4. Marilyn Monroe 31, 1967 – $325,000
A vibrant and ecstatic Marilyn from 1967 returns for Andy’s fourth most valuable print ever sold. In Marilyn 31, shades of pink decorate her acid-yellow hair against a playful hot pink background, which further accentuates the mole and eyelids. The provenance of this print includes the estate of Diane and Alan Page, who purchased this classy Marilyn in 1976 for their new home in Minneapolis. Diane Page recalls that the couple wanted “the home and decor to be very contemporary,” so they decided on a Warhol. According to Page, Andy Warhol was the only name in art they recognized. They bought one of Andy’s Mao portraits soon after, and felt the large and vibrant pieces were perfect for bringing the Pop Art aesthetic into their home. Four decades later, on October 17th, 2018, the print sold for $325,000. It is signed in pencil and numbered 243/250.
3. Mickey Mouse, 1981 – $327,600
Pop Art meets the world’s most cherished cartoon character. After Mickey Mouse’s first appearance in 1928, people all over the world fell in love with the character and with Disney too. Andy Warhol was no exception, citing Walt Disney as one of his greatest inspirations. After the mouse appeared in his Myths series, Andy would later paint many more Mickey’s in different color schemes. Warhol adorned the Mickey with diamond dust, and outlined him with a thin red and orange aura. As a trial proof from the edition of 200 created in 1981, it is a unique and elusive piece. Thirty nine years later, the 38×38 inch Mickey sold for $327,600 on October 22nd, 2020. Andy signed the print in pencil and numbered “TP 25/30” in the bottom left.
2. Marilyn Monroe 31, 1967 – $327,600
Andy Warhol’s second most valuable print ever sold is (perhaps unsurprisingly) another electrifying pink Marilyn Monroe. It was published in 1967, in an edition of 250 for Warhol’s ultra famous Marilyn portfolio. It seems appropriate that Marilyn’s death in 1962 only drew Andy closer to her as a subject. Her life represented a quintessential mixture of Hollywood fame, romance, and tragedy. Overall, Monroe’s image as a cultural figure was alluring and undeniably American. She marked the perfect muse-like focal point for a large and highly acclaimed portion of Warhol’s oeuvre. Marilyn 31 bursts off the sheet in bright pink and yellow tones.
The print sold for $327,600 on October 22nd, 2020 at Sotheby’s in New York. Warhol’s signature appears on the verso in pencil, along with the stamp numbered 104/250. Sotheby’s described the piece as in good condition with occasional scuffs, most notably a 5 ½ inch scuff on Marilyn’s neck in the lower right.
1. Double Mickey Mouse, 1981 – $615,000
Andy has referenced Walt Disney as his earliest influence and an artist who he admired greatly. During the last decade of his life, Andy turned intuitively to Disney’s most beloved and universally recognized creation: Mickey Mouse. Born alongside Andy in 1928, the globally-adored mouse cartoon has become one of the most powerful symbols of pop-culture, transcending its creator as an autonomous image far more meaningful than Disney itself. Overall, Mickey represents the playful core at the heart of the entertainment world, and the general spirit of American modernity and innovation: a perfect subject for Warhol to recreate. As the number one most valuable Warhol print of all time, Double Mickey Mouse fetched a final selling price of $615,000 on October 22nd, 2019, thirty-eight years after its creation. Moreover, it surpassed its highest estimate by over $300,000. The Double Mickey rests on a 30 ½ x 43 inch Arches 88 paper sheet with diamond dust, numbered 12/25. Andy signature appears on the back in pencil.