A 7-mm revolver linked with Van Gogh's death fires up the bidding.
We all know the story: on 27 July 1890, Vincent Van Gogh shot himself in the chest in a wheat field behind the Château d'Auvers-sur-Oise. He finally died after lingering for two days. In around 1960, a farmer picked up a pistol in the same field, and gave it to the owner of the Auberge Ravoux, where the artist used to live. For many years, the gun was exhibited above the bar of the inn. Then in 2012 in Alain Rohan wrote a book about it as the possible suicide weapon, Aurait-on retrouvé l'arme du suicide ? (Fargeau, Paris, February 2012), and it was displayed at the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum's exhibition in summer 2016, "Aux confins de la folie, la maladie de Van Gogh" ("On the edge of madness: Van Gogh's disease"). But doubts about its authenticity were never entirely resolved, and the day before the sale, the Institut van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise, which looks after the Auberge Ravoux, issued a press release saying that the statement that this revolver belonged to relations of the inn's current owner was false. But legend won over uncertainty, and several bidders fought it out until the hammer finally fell on €162,495.