Gold casts of Nelson Mandela’s hands to sell at Guernsey’s March 2

Gold casts of Nelson Mandela’s hands

Four pure-gold casts of Nelson Mandela’s hands will be offered at a Guernsey’s auction on March 2, with absentee and Internet live bidding available exclusively through LiveAuctioneers. Photo courtesy of Guernsey’s

NEW YORK – On Monday, March 2, Guernsey’s will auction four gold casts of Nelson Mandela’s hands—the only such sculptural works in existence. The auction and preview will be held at the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City on March 2 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.

The public is invited to view the stunning gold hands at preview events taking place on Sunday, March 1, from noon to 7 p.m. and Monday, March 2, beginning at noon.

Created in 2002 to raise funds and awareness for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Mr. Mandela sat while every detail of his hand was meticulously captured in 99.99% pure gold mined by one of South Africa’s most highly regarded mines.

The unique collection includes two powerful fists—one inscribed “1964,” the year he was first imprisoned, and the other “1990,” the year of his release. The other two sculptures, an open hand and a full hand impression set in a solid gold block, also commemorate his final year in prison.

Celebrated and respected as one of the most beloved men of our time, Nelson Mandela thought of the hand as a symbol of unity and history. To Mandela, “hands are not so much about my life as they are about my country.”

Gold casts of Nelson Mandela’s hands

Nelson Mandela sitting for the castings in 2002. Photo courtesy of Guernsey’s

Deeply engraved with Mandela’s signature, the gold hands weigh between 77 oz. and 149 oz. each (2.7 kgs. and 4.6 kgs.). Remarkably detailed, one can feel Mandela’s fingerprints and the very scar the beloved Madiba (his clan name) sustained while imprisoned on Robben Island. Handsomely encased in rare South African kiaat wood, each hand is a treasure. As a collection, it is nothing short of remarkable.

A figurehead of modern democracy and equality, Nelson Mandela is recognized globally for his work in furthering human rights. In June of 1964, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement against the South African apartheid regime. He would not be freed until 1990. Upon his release, Mandela quickly rose to political prominence for his role fighting against apartheid and for becoming South Africa’s first black president.

In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize honoring his “work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

Inquiries about this unprecedented auction should be directed to Guernsey’s (tel. 212-794-2280, email:, the auction house known for often presenting historically significant collections. Indeed, it was Guernsey’s multiyear effort that guided the Rosa Parks Archive to the Library of Congress. Past events also include the Jazz Auction held at Lincoln Center which included important property from jazz legends including Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane.

Absentee and Internet live bidding is available exclusively through LiveAuctioneers.