Helen Clark sketch fails to get any bids in TradeMe auction

  • 22/09/2017
The sketch itself was quite basic.
The sketch itself was quite basic. Photo credit: TradeMe/numismatic

A sketch signed by Helen Clark that was at the centre of the infamous "Paintergate" scandal has failed to sell at auction on TradeMe.

In 2002, the former prime minister signed a number of paintings that were sold off at a charity auction. National, in opposition at the time, said other artists made the paintings and accused Ms Clark of deception.

The piece on TradeMe is dated to 2001. The auction description says: "Part of what has come to be known as the 'Paintergate' affair. With the then Prime Minister refusing to either confirm or deny that she was the actual artist, the value of this sketch lies more in its political significance than in its artistic merit. "

The starting bid was $10,500, the price the seller paid for it plus an adjustment for 10 years' inflation. 

But the auction failed to attract a single bid. 

Comments on the auction made jokes about both the sketch and the price. 

One said: "Expensive signature seeing the pictures done by someone else."

While the auction generated a lot of interest, there were no bids so the item did not sell.

The sketch has "two light folds and a very small coffee stain", according to the seller's description.