A pirate ship in Venice – high in the sky over Venice, in actual fact … and all for the sake of charity.
As readers of this blog will know very well, last night saw the launch of the magazine Prim Perfect – with a reception (with dancing) followed by a charity auction in aid of the Ubuntu project, followed by dancing to the music of Luigi/Louis Volare (the pianist Louis Landon in real life). The charity auction took place in the central square in Venice, and I was the auctioneer -and it was extraordinary.
There were items donated by a variety of SL’s top designers. There were sets of furniture from Sky Everett of Sky Designs in L’Utopie and Isabella Lazarno of Classic Creations by Isabella. There were vases and glassware from Sofia Standish of Sofia’s Furniture. There was Venetian glass from Peilo Yallock of Peilo’s Store, and beautiful clocks from both Sue Stonebinder of Intemptesta Nox and Twistit Saiman of Twist and Mila Designs, and a selection of Sue’s wonderful Victrolas.
But the main item was Baron Grayson’s (of Relic) pirate ship. A really magnificent creation – I saw it first when it was moored in the bay at Sanctum Sanctorum. But it was a truly awesome sight to see it rezzed above the Square in Venice so that the prospective buyers could see it. And in addition to the ship, Baron Grayson offered his services for a day.
The auctions started with some of the smaller objects. A Moroccan vase went for L$300 – and then a set of candles went for $2000. As the moment of the star sale approached, the prices were mounting … L$2000 for a mantel clock. $4000 for Venetian glass …
And then a buzz went through the crowd as I took a deep breath and announced the auction of the ship.
It had been announced that this would be a silent auction – but not everyone had got their bids in. Two people im’d me to say that they would bid silently. The rest were cheerfully public … ebullient. The other pieces had been fun. But the tension was now mounting.
A couple of public bids … 10,000 (the reserve price), doubling to 20,000. It started to creep up. 22,000. 25,000.
And then I announced a private bid. 55,000. Now people dropped. They could see this was a serious bidding war. A public bidder responded – 60,000.
70,000. 75,000. 85,000. 87,000.
It was between two bidders now. The crowd were gasping, revelling in the tension. I was taking silent instruction, and a public bidder was facing me, matching the opponent he couldn’t see.
90,000. 92,000. 95,000. 97,000. 98,000.
And there it hung for a little – as though we all needed the time to absorb the amazing thing that was happening … and the next logical step was …
There were gasps and applause. And then it rose again.
110,000. 115,000. It was the silent bidder – and I knew they had reached their limit.
Then … from the square … 117,000.
And the ship was sold.
There were some more sales afterwards – and fiercely contested too. All in all, 131,300 was raised last night for Ubuntu.
And I really can’t think of a better way to have launched Prim Perfect.