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"99 Cents" - One of the Highest-Priced Photographs Ever

99 Cents Only, Hollywood

99 Cents Only Store in Hollywood on Sunset. Photo from Google Maps, Copyright 2023 Google.

German photographer Andreas Gursky recounted that, while visiting Los Angeles and driving through town, he came across a 99 Cents Only store window (said to be the Hollywood store on Sunset) that fascinated him. He had to see the store inside. It inspired him to compose a photograph that captured a wide view of ordered, colorful rows of cheap consumer goods. The final image, a composite of images stitched together, was simply named "99 Cent," and measured close to 12-feet across and seven feet high. It ended up in Time magazine's 1999 list of the 100 most Influential photographs of All Time.

A full image of 99 Cent can be viewed at AndreasGursky.com.

99 Cent, Andreas Gursky

Gursky reportedly photographed the interior of the store from a ladder, resulting in the elevated view of the store's colorful rows of cheap consumer goods. His photographic subjects are often mundane and everyday, but his masterful choice of perspective turns images of these into unique and interesting art.

In 2006, Sotheby's New York sold a print of the photograph for $2,256,000. At the time, it was the second highest price ever paid for a photograph.

Prints of the photograph are in the collections of The Broad in Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.

In 2001, Gursky revisited the 99 Cent image and created two images, naming them "99 Cent II Diptychon" (see images at AndreasGursky.com). In 2006, only six months after the first 99 Cent photograph sold at auction, a print of the second images sold at auction for $2.48 million. Three months later, in 2007, another print of the second images sold at auction for $3.34 million. That became the highest priced photographic creation ever sold, until later in that year.