Boceto of Juan Luna's 'Spoliarium' sold at ₱63 million

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — A boceto or sketch of Juan Luna's "Spoliarium" has been sold for ₱63 million at an auction in Makati City on Saturday.

The winning bid came from a client on the phone during the Salcedo Auction's "The Well-Appointed Life" at The Peninsula Manila hotel.

The starting bid price of ₱25 million rose to ₱63 million in around 15 minutes, amid applause from the audience.

Auctioneer Andrew Thomas described the event as "making history," saying the work of art "has never been in the Philippines before."

The 1883 boceto served as a guide for Luna in completing his obra maestra the "Spoliarium", the largest painting in the Philippines and a national treasure.

Richie Lerma, the director of Salcedo Auctions, earlier told CNN Philippines Life that he initially doubted the authenticity of the boceto because there was a stark difference, especially in color, from the finished "Spoliarium" - the most apparent being the grieving woman on the right hand corner.

But it was Luna's signature at the bottom right hand corner of the boceto that urged Lerma to investigate further, and he was later convinced of the boceto's authenticity.

READ: An earlier version of the 'Spoliarium' is up for auction. But is it real?

CNN Philippines Life's Portia Ladrido contributed to this report.