Not only was David Bowie an avid art collector, he was also an artist in his own right. Among his works includes a collection of nearly four dozen portraits of fellow musicians, friends, and Bowie himself that he painted in the mid-1990s and titled Dead Heads (or DHeads). One of these Dead Heads—DHead XLVI, to be exact, though Bowie didn’t number the paintings in order—was recently unearthed at a donation center in South River, Ontario, and purchased for CAD $5 (USD $4.05).
As NPR reports, the anonymous buyer didn’t realize the acrylic painting bore Bowie’s signature on the back until after the sale. They then got in touch with Toronto-based auction house Cowley Abbott, which worked with Bowie autograph specialist Andy Peters to verify the painting’s authenticity. Incidentally, Peters had come across an online listing for the very same artwork in the early 2000s and immediately recognized it.
“I did not need to see the autograph on the back because I knew, but obviously the signature sealed the deal,” he told CNN.
Anything touched by Ziggy Stardust is bound to fetch more than $5 at an auction, and this 9.75-inch-by-8-inch canvas creation is no exception. The auction house estimated its value between CAD $9000 and $12,000 (USD $7282-$9709), which bidders quickly surpassed. As of Monday, June 21, the top bid was CAD $75,100 (USD $60,764)—already much higher than the USD $27,500 someone spent on a different Dead Head in 2018.
We’ll get to find out the final price of DHead XLVI when the auction closes at 2:15 p.m. EST on June 24. As for whom the painting depicts, that’ll likely remain a mystery.