There is now a new world auction record for a photograph (or at least a diptych). Sotheby's London February 7th Contemporary Art Evening Sale sold the third Andreas Gursky 99-Cent II at auction within nine months. Not only did it set a new record for the artist, but for all of photography. At 1,700,000 British pounds sterling or $3,346,456, lot 62 easily broke both records. The Gursky was the only photography in the evening sale.
This same image set contemporary photography records each time it was auctioned. At Sotheby's May 10, 2006 evening sale of contemporary art, it was the sole photograph of the evening and sold for $2,256,000. Then in November 2006 at Phillips Contemporary Art sale the same image sold for $2.48 million. While both were world auction records for a contemporary photography work, neither sale had previously broken the record for a photograph at auction, which was held by Edward Steichen's "The Pond--Moonlight" at $2,928,000, set just last year on February 14th at Sotheby's New York's Met-Gilman sale.