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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Hirst 'birthday card' fails to sell
Damien Hirst Spots
Hirst's painting was sent for a 70th birthday
A painting by controversial British artist Damien Hirst sent as a birthday card to his art-college secretary has failed to reach its reserve bidding price at auction.

The picture - entitled Spots - was expected to go under the hammer at London's Bonhams auctioneers on Tuesday but it could not attract the required 20,000 to 30,000.

Four Warhol prints of Muhammad Ali
Four Warhol prints of Muhammad Ali fetched 28,750
But other items at the sale of contemporary art attracted buyers - a set of four Andy Warhol prints of Muhammad Ali fetched 28,750.

They were made in 1979, the year the boxer announced his retirement, and came from a limited edition collection of 150 such prints by the New York-based artist, who died in 1987.

Other celebrated artists with works in the sale included Bridget Riley, Tracey Emin, Peter Blake, Mark Chagall, Salvador Dali and David Hockney.

Tracey Emin's piece from her early career
Tracey Emin's piece from her early career
Hirst - the celebrated "bad boy" of the UK art scene known for using dead animals in his artworks - had sent the work to Joan Hardee for her 70th birthday.

Mrs Hardee's son had arranged a surprise party for his mother and asked Hirst if he would make a special card for her.

Hirst went one better and sent her a signed painting instead.

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