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The life-size bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti sold for £65 million at auction in London on Wednesday. It took just eight minutes before an anonymous phone bidder placed the winning bid after the sculpture opened for bidding at £12m at Sotheby's (NYSE:BID) auction house in London.

The sculpture now ranks as one of the most expensive works of art ever sold. For Sotheby's, Wednesday's Impressionist and Modern Art auction was a huge success, yielding a total of £147 million versus its pre-sale estimate of £69-102 million (before buyer's premium). Perhaps more than anything else, the auction proves that despite the economic crisis individual wealth is well and alive, if only limited to the few. It also proves the attractiveness of Sotheby's business model, which benefits from a duopolistic industry structure.

Portfolio Manager’s Review picked Sotheby's as one of the top three ideas in the July 2009 issue, which was entitled “Businesses with Pricing Power and Low Capital Intensity.” Read our Sotheby's investment case.

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Source: Giacometti Auction: Sotheby's Business Model Wins Again