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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 20:36 GMT
Top price for Havel's charity cow
Vaclav Havel's cow
Vaclav Havel had hoped to create his design with Nelson Mandela
A cow sculpture created by former Czech President Vaclav Havel has beaten many others to make top price at a charity auction in Prague.

Mr Havel's design, called Freedom for Cows, fetched 28,662 ($36,585) in aid of children's causes.

The fibreglass cow was made for the Cow Parade, a whimsical project that has visited more than 18 cities worldwide.

The exhibition, featuring 214 cows painted by Czech artists, was on the streets of Prague earlier this year.

I only regret it wasn't possible to decorate this cow together with Nelson Mandela
Vaclav Havel

Cow Parade organiser Martin Racman said Mr Havel had originally planned to create his cow with former South African President Nelson Mandela.

"But he had to abandon the plan because of Mr Mandela's bad health," Mr Racman said.

On the Cow Parade website, Mr Havel says his design reflects the colour of the free world and the grimness of the totalitarian world.

"The contrast of colours, their interaction with steel bars and with barbed wire hopefully portrays the destiny of many beings that live their miserable lives without freedom.

The cow that was stolen from Prague
One of the 214 cows in Prague was stolen and 50 vandalised

"I only regret it wasn't possible to decorate this cow together with Nelson Mandela. It would have been brighter."

The auction held by Sotheby's in a Prague hotel raised 143,300 ($183,700) for charitable causes. A further 66 cows will be auctioned on the internet.

The Cow Parade exhibition started in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1998 to increase tourism and commerce.

Since then it has raised more than $12.8m worldwide for charitable causes.

Manchester in the UK and Stockholm in Sweden have also hosted the exhibition this year.

While on display in Prague from June to September, one sculpture was stolen and 50 were vandalised.

Timeline: Czech Republic
25 Aug 04 |  Country profiles
Cows awaiting the highest bidder
05 Oct 04 |  Manchester
Vandals target city's Cow Parade
23 Jun 04 |  Manchester
Vaclav Havel: End of an era
09 Oct 03 |  Europe
Arty cows raise 350,000 for charity
11 Oct 02 |  Entertainment
Cows moo-ve in to London
13 Jun 02 |  Entertainment

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