Two other lots both sold for 1 billion tomans each: 61-year-old New York resident Kamran Yousefzadeh with his White Dome painting, and 54-year-old Farhad Moshiri with his Jugs canvas. His other painting, titled Little Black Bowl, hammered 550 million tomans as well.

Then it was 95-year-old Manoucher Yektai’s abstract art painting which had no title and hammered 500 million tomans, taking the fifth place at this year’s auction. His was followed by four others that sold above 400 million tomans: Three works sold for 460 million tomans each, paintings by the late Farideh Lashai, Reza Derakshani, and Hossein Zenderoudi. Aydin Aghdashloo’s painting also hammered 440 million tomans.

At least 12 highlights also hammered above 200 million tomans:

Mansoor Ghandriz – 340mt

Kourosh Shishegaran – 320mt

Ghasem Hajizadeh – 300mt

Farideh Lashai – 300mt

Amir Masoud Akhavan Jam – 300mt

Mohammad Hossein Emad – 280mt

Monir Farmanfarmaian – 280mt

Reza Derakhshani – 280mt

Hossein Zenderoudi – 260mt

Abbas Kiarostami – 200mt

Parviz Kalantari – 200mt

Khosro Hassanzadeh – 180mt

Vahid Khakdan – 180mt

Mansour Ghandriz – 170mt

Shahriar Ahmadi – 160mt

Mohammad Ali Taraghi – 160mt

Ghasem Hajizadeh – 150mt

Hannibal Alkhas – 140mt

Sedaghat Jabbari – 130

Bahman Dadkhah – 120mt

Einoddin Sadeghzadeh  – 110mt

Zhazeh Tabatabai – 110mt

Afshin Pirhashemi – 100mt

Saeed Shahlapour – 100mt

Zhazeh Tabatabai – 100mt

Other lots hammering 95 million tomans were those of Parvaneh Etemadi, Alireza Espahbod, Marko Gregorian, and Avish Khebrehzadeh. There were also others which hammered from 80 million all the way down to 14 million tomans – the final bids.

The first of its kind in Iran, Tehran Auction was launched in 2012 as an independent and private initiative to support the domestic art market as a key basis for the international market. Holding two sales in one calendar year marks a first for the house. With 120 lots on offer, the auction created the opportunity for both young and emerging collectors and established collectors to participate in the art scene of the country and its affordable contemporary art market.

The auction of modern and contemporary Iranian art, which is jockeying to be among the big auctions in the Middle East, is an annual event. This year was different: the prices that were bid were astonishing for a country still struggling with international sanctions – exceeding all expectations.

The auction is run by Alireza Sami Azar, a former head of Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which has a hidden treasure of original works by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Edvard Munch, René Magritte and Mark Rothko. Seyyed Mohammad Beheshti, Morteza Kazemi, Hojjatollah Ayoubi, Bita Farahi, Fereshteh Taerpour, Mehdi Karampour, Afshin Hashemi, Roozbeh Nematolahi as well as 700 artists and art collectors, journalists, and fans attended this year’s auction.