Tuesday, November 17, 1998 Published at 12:49 GMT
Record prices in auction houses
This Monet raised $9.9 million for Reader's Digest
Art and jewellery auctions in the United States and Europe have achieved record prices despite the recent turmoil in the world's financial markets.
In New York, a Modigliani portrait of his wife, was sold for $15m, $2.5m up on the previous record for one of his works.
And an anonymous Middle East collector paid $3.2m for a huge cushion-shaped diamond at a sale in Geneva.
Sold for to pay for growth
The sale raised more than $86m at Sotheby's in New York.
A sculpture by Giacometti, The Forest, Seven Figures and One Head, also set a record for one of his pieces, raising $7.5m.
The Thatched Roof Cottages at Auvers went for $4.4m. The painting is attributed to Van Gogh, although some experts believe it to be a forgery, actually painted by a doctor who cared for the painter.
Despite the records, the sale was marked by caution among buyers. Most of the works sold within the pre-sale estimated range, with several barely making the low estimate or selling for even less.
Mouna sets record
In Geneva, the huge yellow Mouna diamond was bought for a record $3.2m by an anonymous Middle East collector.
It was the star item in a sale which earned more than $8m for Mouna Al-Ayoub, the Lebanese former wife of Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rachid.
The sale of nearly 160 gems and pieces of modern silver was to raise cash towards the $17m refit of her yacht Phocea.
The previous record for a fancy intense yellow diamond was $3m, set by a 102.7 carat stone in May 1996 by Christie's in Geneva.