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Rostropovich art for $73 million?

September 22, 2007|From the Associated Press

A Russian billionaire says he bought the art collection of the late cellist Mstislav Rostropovich for the state by offering the upper limit of the value established by the auction house.

Alisher Usmanov said Friday in an interview on Russia's Ekho Moskvy radio that he paid $72.6 million on the eve of an auction by Sotheby's that was to begin Tuesday in London, forcing the auction house to cancel it.

The sale had been announced earlier this week, but not the price.

"I paid the maximum price along with a bonus," Usmanov said, adding that he had paid a commission to Sotheby's.

He said that the collection of more than 450 pieces would be brought to Russia in the next month and that he would hand it over to the state.

It probably will be housed in Moscow or St. Petersburg, he said.

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