- Title: UK: EARLIEST SURVIVING SETS OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF MECCA SOLD IN AUCTION AT SOTHEBY'S
- Date: 4th June 1998
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 4, 1998) (RTV) 1. SLV BIDDING IN SOTHEBY'S AUCTION ROOM (4 SHOTS) 0.12 2. SLV START OF AUCTION OF A COLLECTION OF PRINTS OF PHOTOGRAPHS BY MOHAMMED SADIQ BEY 0.29 3. SLV BIDDING BETWEEN UNNAMED TELEPHONE BUYER AND SECRETARY OF THE SAUDI ARABIAN EMBASSY ADEL BABESAIL (YELLOW SHIRT) (8 SHOTS) 1.14 4. SLV BIDDING CLOSING AT ONE MILLION TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS/ PEOPLE CLAPPING (2 SHOTS) 1.24 5. SCU PAUL QUARRIE SOTHEBY'S DIRECTOR AND SENIOR BOOK EXPERT SAYING "ONE CAN'T PUT A VERY LARGE ESTIMATE ON THEM BECAUSE ONE CANNOT TELL WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN AN AUCTION BUT I SAID TO SOMEBODY YESTERDAY THAT I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED GIVEN THEIR IMPORTANCE IF THEY MADE SOMETHING IN THE REGION OF A MILLION POUNDS AND THEY HAVE" (ENGLISH) 1.40 6. ADEL BABESAIL, SECRETARY OF THE SAUDI ARABIAN EMBASSY CONFIRMING THE SAUDI EMBASSY HAD BOUGHT THE COLLECTION (ARABIC) 2.00 7. SCU CAMERAMAN 2.04 LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 3, 1998) (RTV) 8. SCU/CU SADIQ BEY'S PHOTOGRAPHS OF MECCA WHICH FORM PART OF THE COLLECTION (5 SHOTS) 2.30 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Reuters ID: LVA718LHKDL0H1ZM9MF82YQIPLIR
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Duration: 00:02:32
- Story Text: One of the few surviving sets of the earliest photographs of Mecca has fetched almost 1.4 million pounds sterling at a London auction after furious bidding between a representative of the Saudi Arabian embassy and an unidentified telephone buyer.
The collection of rare photographs by celebrated photographer Mohammed Sadiq Bey were expected to fetch in the region of 100,000 pounds sterling at Thursday (June 4) auction at Sotheby's.
The 13 photographs of the cities of Mecca and Medina were taken more than 100 years ago by Sadiq Bey, an award-winning pioneer of Arabian photography.
Taken between 1881 and 1882 they are one of only four known surviving sets of Sadiq Bey's photos, and are the earliest photographic images of the two Islamic holy cities.
They were put up for auction at the British auction house Sotheby's by an unidentified private owner who had put together the collection over a number of years.
As soon as bidding began a battle to buy the collection emerged between a representative of the Saudi Arabian embassy in London and an unidentified telephone buyer, also believed to be from the Middle East.
Bidding immediately outstripped the estimated value by the auctioneers and continued for several tense minutes before passing the one million pound mark.
Bidding then continued for several minutes more, with bids being raised by up to 50,000 at a time before the telephone buyer finally pulled out.This left the Saudi Arabian embassy to take possession on the collection for a staggering 1,376,500 pounds (2,253,000 dollars U.S) (1,125,000 pounds before fees).
After the sale Sotheby's said they were not surprised that the collection, which includes 13 photographs and a journal of Sadiq Bey's travels, fetched such a large amount.
The collection contains two photographs of Medina showing the walls of the town and a pilgrim encampment outside.
Several other pictures are of Mecca and include views of the court of the Great Mosque and the Ka'bah (chief sanctuary of Islam) during prayers.
Sadiq Bey was born in Egypt in 1832.He followed a military career as an engineer before making photographic trips to Medina and Mecca after 1860, initially to pinpoint places of potential military importance.
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