A sketch of the Manhattan skyline drawn and signed by Mr. Trump way back in 2005 — the year Hurricane Katrina touched down, Terri Schiavo died and Kanye West topped the charts with the hit single “Gold Digger” — was sold for more than $29,000.
The auction was held by Nate D. Sanders Auctions, a Los Angeles auction house specializing in autographs and memorabilia. Bidding for the drawing started at $9,000, and a total of 11 offers came in online. The winning bidder was not identified, but he or she shelled out $29,184, including the premium.
“You wouldn’t find $29,000 for a presidential autograph except for when you’re going back to the founding fathers or Abraham Lincoln,” Nate Sanders, the auction house founder, said in a phone interview on Thursday.
“It’s an extremely high price, and it’s pretty much unprecedented for a modern president,” he said. “Trump has that ‘wow’ factor.”
The drawing itself is a simple one, showing a skyline behind a ribbon of road.
New York City’s most famous landmarks, like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty, are not visible. But Trump Tower stands in the middle. The future president used vertical lines and a jagged roof to illustrate its famous stepped façade.
And he signed the sketch at the bottom, in his golden ink.
The auction house had described the drawing as 11.5 by 9 inches, “and very rare, with only a handful of such drawings known.”
It was sketched by Mr Trump as part of a charity event benefiting the fight against illiteracy in September 2005. According to a news release for the event, other participants included the racecar driver Jeff Gordon, the actress Charlize Theron and — oddly enough — the Republican senator from Arizona, John McCain, who has found himself at odds with Mr. Trump, most recently on Friday morning, when he voted to block the latest effort to repeal Obamacare.
Despite Mr. Trump’s controversial early months in office, there’s a reason a small memento of ink on paper was able to fetch such a high price just 12 years after its creation.
“People will bid a lot of money for controversial political leaders’ artwork,” said Sam Heller, the public relations director at Nate D. Sanders. “So the auction house is very pleased that it tripled the original bidding price.”
The drawing did not command the highest price at this auction, which had more than 200 pieces of history for sale. A signed photograph of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue sold for $125,000, and the original artwork for a “Prince Valiant” comic strip from 1939 was sold for $70,461.