Auction hammer to fall on Warhol's Jackson portrait


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 18, 2009 at 11:11 AM EDT

The hammer was to fall Tuesday in the marathon auction of a Michael Jackson portrait by Andy Warhol, with bids expected to be in the millions of dollars.

The Vered Art gallery on Long Island, New York, said the auction, conducted online and by telephone, would close at 8:00 pm (0000 GMT Wednesday).

The auction had been due to end a month ago but was extended to take advantage of Jackson mania in the wake of the so-called king of pop's death June 25.

The 30-inch by 26-inch (76-centimeter by 66-centimeter) Warhol silkscreen and synthetic polymer paint portrait shows a smiling Jackson decked out in red and gold-tinged military garb.

The 1984 work was bought for 278,500 dollars in May at Sotheby's by an anonymous purchaser, who now stands to make a huge profit. After Vered extended the auction bids reached 800,000 dollars and were widely predicted to head many times higher, bucking strong downward pressure on contemporary and modern art prices.

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